Although a generic term cannot become a trademark, a trademark can become generic. Ironically, the more successful the trademark owner, the more likely it is that a trademark will become generic, resulting in the loss of the trademark owner`s exclusive right to use and protect the trademark. A trademark can become “generic” if the trademark is identified in the public mind with a type of product or service and not with a specific brand. A company name is also known as a trade name. It is the official name that a company or sole proprietor carries in its business activities. Legally, you don`t need to register a company name to do business. While a brand helps identify the company and its products or services, the brand helps prevent competitors from stealing the brand image or essentially creating similar identities to create confusion in the market. Brands consist of a number of elements. These include: A risk factor that can lead to generation is the use of a trademark as a verb, plural, or possessive, unless the trademark itself is possessive or plural (e.g., “friendly” restaurants).

[12] Brands can be bought and sold. For example, Nike (NKE) bought the instantly recognizable Swoosh logo from a graphic design student in 1971 for a one-time price of $35. Trademarks may also be licensed to other companies for an agreed period of time or under certain conditions, which may lead to cross-trademarks. Take, for example, THE RELATIONSHIP LEGO has with certain film franchises. The private company licenses many famous sub-brands such as Star Wars and DC Comics to produce LEGO versions of popular products. Trademark rights may be lost due to improper waiver, license or assignment or general publicity. A trademark is discontinued if its use is discontinued with the intention of not resuming its use. Such an intention can be inferred from the circumstances.

In addition, non-use for three consecutive years constitutes prima facie evidence of the discontinuation of the procedure. The basic idea is that trademark law only protects trademarks that are used and that parties are not allowed to store potentially useful marks. For example, a recent case revealed that the Los Angeles Dodgers had waived the trademark rights of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. against Sed Non Olet Denarius, Ltd., 817 F. Supp. 1103 (S.D.N.Y. 1993). Trademarks are subject to federal and state law. Originally, the customary law of States was the main source of trademark protection.

However, in the late 1800s, the U.S. Congress enacted the first federal trademark law. Since then, federal trademark law has continued to expand, taking over much of the land originally covered by state common law. The most important federal law is the Lanham Act, which was enacted in 1946 and last amended in 1996. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051 et seq. Today, federal law is the most important and, overall, comprehensive source of trademark protection, although state common law lawsuits are still available. Most of the discussion in this summary is about federal law.

Another meaning of the word, which is generated in the pharmaceutical industry, refers to products whose patent protection has expired. For example, Lipitor was generated in the United States when the first competing generic version was approved by the FDA in November 2011. In this context, the term generization refers to the process of a brand-name drug losing its market exclusivity to generics. Similarly, in general, we do not ask for a “self-adhesive bandage with sterile cotton lining”, but rather tend to ask for a cast. Consumer goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) began making sterile gauze dressings as early as 1887. But it was not until 1920 that the company launched its TAPE-AID® brand band. A cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson, Earle Dickson, invented the patch: Whether or not a trademark is commonly identified as generic, the trademark owner may still be able to enforce the proprietary rights associated with the use or registration of the trademark, as long as the trademark continues to identify only the owner as the commercial origin of the applicable goods or services. If the trademark does not perform this essential function and it is no longer possible to legally enforce trademark rights, the trademark may have become generic. In many jurisdictions (e.g. the United States, but not Germany), a generic trademark is in the public domain and can be commercially exploited by anyone. Nevertheless, it is possible for a trademark to become a revocable generic term in German (and European) trademark law.

On the less prominent side of the fence are descriptive marks and generic terms. Descriptive marks have much weaker legal protection and generic terms have no protection. While a trademark is a corporate image that is built over time and is a reputation for quality in the eyes of customers, a trademark is a legal protection of the trademark granted by the Trademark and Patent Office. The more distinctive the mark, the stronger the legal protection. We measure distinctiveness along a continuum called the brand distinctiveness spectrum. Check out our infographic below, which depicts the spectrum as a “fence.” Erosion or brand generation is a special case of antonomasie in relation to brands. This occurs when a trademark is distributed in such a way that it is used as a common name[8][9][10] and the company of origin has not prevented such use. [8] [10] Once it has become an appellate body, the word can no longer be registered; For this reason, companies strive not to let their brand become too frequent, a phenomenon that could otherwise be considered a successful step, as it would mean that the company has gained exceptional recognition. An example of brand piracy is the verb “to hoover” (used with the meaning of “vacuum cleaner”), which comes from the brand name of the Hoover company.

Your brand represents your reputation and business to the public A trademark legally protects aspects of the brand that are specific to your business.11 min read However, in highly influenced languages, a trade name may need to have pitfalls in use. An example is Finnish, where “Microsoftin” is the genitive and “Facebookista” is the eleative case. [13] When you think about your brand name, imagine that it is on either side of the brand differentiation barrier. Historically, the word “trademark” dates back to the time when shepherds put markers on their sheep to distinguish them from the property of other shepherds. This was done by placing a hot iron against the sheep to burn a unique mark in them. The term “brand” or “burn” has become “brand”. There are limits to copyright protection. First, it only protects the specific expression of the subject, not the ideas behind it. Second, it does not protect against works that are clear parodies of the copyrighted work. Third, there is a legal defense against copyright called “fair dealing,” which allows small clips of copyrighted works to be used for reference, revision, science, or other purposes. After all, copyright does not protect individual phrases, trade names, or slogans. Other ways to stop brand genericity are to use brand notices and make it visually easy for a consumer to distinguish between brand terms and generic product names in all documents associated with the product.

The owner of a trademark should also avoid variations of a trademark, for example by using apostrophes, abbreviations or spelling changes, as variations signal to the public that it is acceptable to abuse the mark. WIPO`s Lex Database is a comprehensive search tool that allows you to search international treaties and national intellectual property laws. The Lanham Act provides federal protection for distinctive features used in commerce. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051 ff. Federal protection for unregistered trademarks is generally available under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), which establishes a civil cause of action for allegations of false designation of origin and false advertising. While registration is not a requirement for federal trademark protection, trademarks enjoy significant advantages over unregistered trademarks, including: registration serves as a nationally constructive indication of ownership and use of the trademark under 15 U.S.C. § 1072; and a trademark may be used after five years of uninterrupted use pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065 obtain an indisputable status that strengthens the rights of the owner by eliminating a number of objections to infringement claims.