Don’t Let your Trademark End Up in the Graveyard

October 13, 2011, 05:45 PM

Do the words Escalator, Zipper and Cellophane sound familiar? Sure they are items that you may use every day, but they were also once registered trademarks. They became so popular that the trademark became the generic name for the product. The marks are now dead and considered to be in the trademark graveyard. There are several ways to help keep your mark alive. Xerox Corporation has an advertising campaign to remind the public that the mark XEROX is not a generic term for photocopiers. Another way is to ensure there is a generic name for your branded product, even if you have to invent the name. For example, “online skates” was created for ROLLERBLADES. The use of the term “brand” is another way to avoid the trademark graveyard. Johnson & Johnson uses BAND-AID brand bandages. Take note of the use of your trademark by others and, if necessary, put your trademark on a maintenance plan to keep it out of the trademark graveyard. —Nicole J. Harrell