Don’t become a victim to Genericide!
The main function of your trade mark and an essential feature is distinctiveness. It allows you to distinguish your business and brand from another, including your competitors.
However, if you do not promote and use your mark in the right way, you may fall foul and become a victim of Genericide.
The more your mark is used as an indicator of the goods or services it represents rather than a badge of origin for your brand, the more generic it will become. This will then drain it of its IP protection.
While of course you want people to use your brand name as it allows you to reach a wide number of potential customers, the more it is used in the wrong way, the more damaging it can be.
Both Hoover and Cellotape were originally brand names with trade mark protection but they have become synonymous with the goods they represent and therefore have become generic.
There are a number of ways to promote distinctiveness and move away from a generic problem. These all revolve around indicating that the mark is a brand and not a descriptor of goods or services.
Your steps against Genericide include:
- Always use for brand name in full and prevent any abbreviations
- When using your mark in advertising or in literature, couple the brand name with a generic description to indicate the existence of a brand. Examples of this include, Galaxy chocolate and Nike sportswear.
- Always make a big deal of your brand name in advertising to highlight that it is a brand name.
- Using the trade mark symbols ™ (for unregistered marks) and ® (for registered marks), to indicate that it is a brand and you are serious about its protection
These steps will aid you in the prevention of having a worthless generic trade mark. If your mark is to become generic, you may be open to invalidity claims or potentially having a refusal to renew your mark.
Take action now against Genericide, contact The Trademarkroom for more information.
By Ellis Sweetenham