Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jun 2011 22:46 UTC
In the News As we reported earlier this week, Apple is busy sending out cease and desist letters to small, defenceless projects to defend its trademark application (it doesn't actually own the trademark yet) for 'app store'. This has prompted many a discussion over the trademarkability of such a generic term, and over the origins of the abbreviation 'app'. Who came up with it? How old is it? To my surprise - the abbreviation is much older than you'd think, and in a way, it illustrates quite well the demise of the programmer. What? Read on.
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RE[3]: This is a red herring
by Neolander on Sat 25th Jun 2011 06:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This is a red herring"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

The question is interesting nonetheless.

Can a company legally use a trademark on a word or expression that has become the commonplace way of describing a concept ?

As an example, I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that in the UK, people don't use "to vacuum clean" all so often. To describe the action of using a powerful electric pump to suck up everything in the floor of a room*, "to hoover" is preferred. Should the Hoover Company have the right to sue all illegal uses of the term ?




* And this reminds me of a webcomic gag about a "suck for a buck" sign and a messy room =_= I spend too much time on the internet.

Edited 2011-06-25 06:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: This is a red herring
by rhavyn on Sat 25th Jun 2011 06:53 in reply to "RE[3]: This is a red herring"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

Should the Hoover Company have the right to sue all illegal uses of the term ?


Yes or they risk their trademark becoming genericized and potentially losing it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_dilution to understand why a company must defend it's trademarks and marks it would like to use as trademarks if it wants to keep them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: This is a red herring
by Neolander on Sat 25th Jun 2011 07:06 in reply to "RE[4]: This is a red herring"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, that page which you provide has some good examples of what I'm meaning by "should they have the right?".

I'm personally happy that I can use the short and convenient "aspirin" instead of "acetylsalicylic acid", no matter who actually manufactures it. Excessive trademarking, on the other hand, tends to encourage putting lots of different names on the same thing. Like Doliprane, Efferalgan, etc... are all different trademarks on the same old paracetamol.

Question is : which would you prefer, given the choice ? Having the right to call every proprietary software repository "app store", or sticking with "proprietary software repository" as a generic name (which is as complicated as any generic name gets) and a myriad of trademarked names for the same thing ?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: This is a red herring
by JAlexoid on Sat 25th Jun 2011 09:39 in reply to "RE[4]: This is a red herring"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Since trademarks are not global in essence, hoover is a generic term in UK already. It's just not revoked, formally. Because that is done by a judge.

http://www.mancunium-ip.co.uk/articles/Postregistration.pdf
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3006486.stm

Edited 2011-06-25 09:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2