brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:20 am

Attempting to validate a vague memory of high school "language arts" that a word exists to define/categorize words that, although brand names, become so popular they replace the product itself.
Examples: Kleenex=tissue, Xerox=copy, Coke=soft drink...

Anyone? Anyone? (Ferris Bueller tone)

XOXO, MAJ
Submitted by MaryAnn Janiga (Calumet City - U.S.A.)
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:34 am

MaryAnn, The word that I have heard for this is GENERICISMS. However, this word is not commonly found in dictionaries and, in fact, the only dictionary I found it in was the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines it very generally as follows:

GENERICISM: “The systematic official adoption of generic as contradistinguished from specific phraseology.”

Now this definition doesn’t specifically talk about trade names becoming generic names, but it would certainly include that. However, a Google search found that this word is widely used to describe the trademark phenomenon. ‘Genericism’ produced about a 1000 hits but, of course, most of these were not trademark related.
<“Policing trademarks: abandonment and GENERICISM”>

<“Such efforts may or may not be successful in preventing GENERICISM in the long run, which depends less on the mark owner's efforts and more on how the public actually perceives and uses the mark.”>

<“The statutory ground of GENERICSM will not apply where a functional mark, through use, has acquired some distinctiveness. This could easily occur during the permitted monopoly of a utility patent on the best and most cost efficient color/configuration for a certain purpose. Further, a functional configuration which is a registered ‘mark’ is not likely to be in wide use at the time a lawsuit is brought, so GENERICISM may be unavailable as a defense to any ‘infringers’ using the functional feature before it is in common use in the industry.”>
_____________________

Ken G – August 20, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:49 am

MaryAnn,
More specifically with respect to trademarks, there is the term "genericized trademark", which tends to be used in legal discussion of the issue.
There are other genericisms which do not infringe trademark law, such as "Davy lamp" which is often used to mean a miner's safety lamp of different design from the original Davy lamp, although the name is not a trademark.
Phil W. 21 August, 2004
Reply from Phil White (Munich - Germany)
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:03 pm

MaryAnn, thanks for the question and Ken for the answer

In this connection, anybody know of a dictionary--preferably online--that lists all the genericisms that have lost protection so can now be used lower-case

Thanks to allaya
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:17 pm

Dale, I don’t know of any complete online list, but the best source I have seen for both former and present trademarks and trademark-related info is http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Genericized_trademark .

One interesting case that is not clarified is that of ‘thermos,’ which is a registered trademark in Britain but not in the U.S. So if you look in a Britsih discitonary such as the OED, Thermos is capitalized and listed as a trademark, but if you look in a U.S. dictionary such as Merriam-Webster you will find it spelled with a lower case ‘t’ and they tell you that it derived from the trademarked Thermos. “Webster’s Dictionary” itself is a very interesting case. That name is no longer a trademark and anyone and his brother can call their dictionary “Webster’s Dictionary.” ‘Merriam-Webster,’ on the other hand, is trademarked.

Ken – August 21, 2003
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:32 pm

I'm surprised the English language doesn't lose the capital E half-way across the Atlantic, Ken.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:18 pm

Quite so. Losing the capital E would bring little ecstasy to Britain.
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brand name replacements, e.g., Kleenex = tissue

Post by dalehileman » Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:33 pm

Ken, thank you for putting me onto wordiq. However, as you said, there's evidently no comprehensive list of genericized tradenames anywhere. What I need is a trick or technique to judge when a trademark has become fair game; that is without performing an exhaustive (yet inconclusive) Google tally

Any suggestions welcome however outlandish--thanks all
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