What is trademark genericide?

The widespread awareness of a trademark is great for developing a strong and valuable mark but such widespread use of the mark may cause the public to view the mark as a generic term for the goods or services. When this happens, the mark is no longer entitled to trademark protection. Examples of marks that have fallen victim to genericide are band-aid, aspirin, and zipper.

Trademark genericide can occur through the public’s overuse of the mark or the owner’s failure to police its use by others. Once a trademark is considered a generic designation for the product, it is very difficult for the mark to regain trademark status.

Ways to prevent genericide:

  1. Register your trademark on the principal register
  2. Always use the ® symbol with your trademark.
  3. Do not use your trademark as a verb (to Xerox a paper)
  4. Do not use your trademark as a noun
  5. Monitor the public’s use of the mark to ensure it is used to identify the source.
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