Trade mark Genericide: what is it and how to avoid it!
The key aspect of as trade mark is that it is a distinctive way for your consumers to distinguish you from the competition.
If your mark loses its distinctiveness, it is no longer fulfilling its function as a badge of origin of goods but only becoming a representative of the goods or services themselves.
Some of the most commonplace of terms now once were brands, destroyed by overuse. A key example of this is the Hoover, once a brand now so diluted it has become the word of choice for the majority of the UK to describe what they use to clean their carpets.
As your brand becomes more and more popular, the risk of ‘genericide’, death of a brand through being generic, grows bigger.
You need to ensure that your brand is being used and portrayed properly otherwise you can lose your registered trade mark protection.
To prevent this from happening to your brand, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the chance of ‘genericide’.
· Using the trade mark symbols ™ (for unregistered marks) and ® (for registered marks), to indicate that it is a brand.
· When using your trade mark in text, couple it with a generic term to distinguish between the two, eg Galaxy chocolate
· Make sure when using the trade mark, it stays in its proper form and is not abbreviated in any way
· When advertising, always distinguish your trade mark from other words and phrases to emphasise the brand
If you do these things from the beginning, you are putting yourself in the best position to give your mark longevity.
For more information and guidance on how to register your trade mark, contact the Trademarkroom team today.
By Ellis Sweetenham