Genericide: Are You Using Your Registered Trademark Correctly?

Did you know you could risk losing your trademark registration based on how you use your mark?  Trademarks help consumers and potential consumers determine the source of goods or services, not the goods or services themselves.  If the mark becomes the generic name for the actual goods or services, it becomes subject to “genericide” and may eventually be deemed abandoned.

Let’s take the words escalator, Aspirin and Zipper, for example.  Today, we associate these words with a type of product.  But did you know these words were once trademarks that lost their registration because they became generic?  Xerox was once susceptible to genericide, but it had an antidote–it initiated a campaign to educate the public on how to use the mark, using taglines such as “When you use ‘Xerox’ the way you use ‘aspirin,’ we get a headache.”  A proper way to use Xerox may be “Xerox Copy Machine,” where “Xerox” designates the source of the good, which is the copy machine.  Click here to see how Xerox uses its mark today:

Here’s the takeaway: If you don’t use your trademark properly or educate the consuming public on how to use it, you might be leaving your trademark susceptible to genericide and be subject to losing your registration.  Contact us today to discuss how to use your trademark properly and prevent genericide.

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