Re: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage

Subject: Re: Trademarks: adjective and noun usage
From: Robin Hilp <rolybear -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 09:56:55 -0700 (PDT)

Janet Swisher wrote:
>I don't have a choice. My company's lawyers have dictated that our
>trademarks *must* be used as adjectives, not nouns. [...] Generally,
>we say things like "Start the Foobar program," rather than "Start

Company policy on trademark usage varies by company. Generally, it
depends on how much litigation the company is prepared for, and on
aspects of branding such as projected saturation and how common or
easily corrupted the trademarked term is to begin with.

Several years ago, in one of Intel's lawsuits with "clone makers" over
the use of chip-name trademarks, the use of trademarks as adjectives vs
common nouns *even in internal memos* was examined. That's an extreme
example, but it prompted some very convoluted trademark-usage rules for
Intel writers. And that, of course, meant we spent a lot of effort on
making our text comfortable to read while still conforming to the legal

OTOH, one small company where I worked went to the other extreme. When
I started, the (r) and (tm) were officially used only in titles of
outbound literature and labels, and usage of the trademark as a noun,
adjective, or *verb* (I kid you not) was not "regulated" by any
authority other than the lone writer.

RolyBear ICQ 1863181 (Robin Hilp)

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