By Trademark Garden | March 12, 2018
“I’ll have to Google that.”
“Let’s UBER to the bar.”
“Can you Xerox me some copies?”
All of these phrases and more are common, everyday examples of distinctive trademarks being used not only as bywords for the goods and services that provided under the trademarks, but as verbs used to identify the action of using an internet search engine, ordering a ride share, or making a photocopy. As this practice becomes more and more common among the large and famous players in the trademark (and business) world, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of presenting their trademarks as bywords for the act of using the good or service in question.
- This may seem obvious, but get a federal trademark registration. This helps prove exclusive use rights in the first place, and “plants your flag” on the brand name as a unique brand name and not generic term.
- Somewhat less obviously, if you decide to use a brandverb, register that too! This can be done by registering either the brandverb alone, or as a slogan incorporating the brandverb.
- Use the actual generic term for the goods/services on at least some advertising, packaging, online media, etc. alongside the trademark. For example, instead of using KLEENEX alone, use something like KLEENEX FACIAL TISSUES which implies that the term FACIAL TISSUES is generic, whereas KLEENEX is a distinctive brand name.
- Create advertising material that reinforces the fact that any “verb use” cannot be accomplished without your particular branded product or service. Make sure that your customers understand that “you can’t Google without Google.”
- Alternatively, create an advertising campaign that encourages consumers to not use your trademark in a generic manner. A good example of this is the “Don’t Say Velcro” campaign by the makers of VELCRO brand adhesive strips with the tagline “Never a Noun. Never a Verb. Always on Brand.”
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