How to Avoid Trademark Genericide

Ellena Arroyo

Trademark Genericide is a nightmare for anyone who is protecting his brand. Greater is the popularity of a brand broader will be its protection. However, this popularity brings problems of a trademark Genericide with it.

A well known and very much popular trademark loses its distinctiveness and becomes generic. Escalator, Aspirin is some examples.

There are some brands those are at the risk of becoming generic terms like Google and Band-Aid. Google and Johnson & Johnson’s are taking steps to protect their respective trademarks. Today in this post we will be discussing some methods those can be implemented by you if your brand is at the risk of becoming a generic term.

These are not surefire tips, however, when you will implement them, they can definitely help you.

Develop Guidelines on How to Use Your Trademark
I believe this is the first and very crucial step. The way you use your trademark for your product branding has an impact on this aspect. Improper use of your trademark for product branding can bring harmful consequences.

For example, let suppose you are the owner of Levi’s and you have to advertise your jeans. If you are advertising your product by saying wear Levi’s then you are endangering your own trademark. Your brand will become popular and people will start using Levi’s to refer jeans rather than your company and your trademark will turn into a generic term.

Therefore, proper use of trademark is very crucial. Instead of Levi’s use Levi’s Jeans, instead of advertising with a punch line that says eat Maggie you must say eat Maggie Noodles.

Develop guidelines for your marketing team and other internal teams that how they should use the trademark for product branding. This will help your trademark and will lower the risk of Trademark Genericide.

Your Trademark is not a Noun or Verb
This is another step that you must implement. It is almost similar to above mentioned method. Don’t use your trademark as a noun or a verb. Use it as an adjective instead. It should not be used as a name of your product; however, it should identify your brand.

Use your trademark as an adjective and a generic term associated with it as a noun. For example, Parker Pen; here pen (generic term) is a noun and Parker (trademark) is an adjective that is describing the attributes of a pen.

Don’t use your trademark as a verb also.

Make Your Trademark to Stand Out
Your trademark and your brand name should stand out from the generic terms and product names those are surrounding it. You must follow these points.

  1. Use capital letters, or bold your trademark, a particular color pattern or a combination thereof. For example LEVI’S Jeans instead of Levi’s Jeans.
  2. Use the ®-sign or ™ sign along with your trademark. This will avoid confusion among your customers. Thus, you must use LEVI’S ® Jeans.
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