We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Generification is the use of specific brand names of products as names for the products in general.
In numerous cases over the past century, the colloquial use of a brand name as a generic term has led to the loss of a company's right to the exclusive use of that brand name. The legal term for this is genericide.
For example, the common nouns aspirin, yo-yo, and trampoline were once legally protected trademarks. (In many countries-but not in the United States or the United Kingdom-Aspirin remains a registered trademark of Bayer AG.)
Etymology: From the Latin, "kind"
Generification and Dictionaries
"A surprising number of words have developed contentious generic meanings: they include aspirin, band-aid, escalator, filofax, frisbee, thermos, tippex, and xerox. And the problem facing the lexicographer dictionary-maker is how to handle them. If it is everyday usage to say such things as I have a new hoover: it's an Electrolux, then the dictionary, which records everyday usage, should include the generic sense. The principle has been tested several times in the courts and the right of the dictionary-makers to include such usages is repeatedly upheld. But the decision still has to be made: when does a proprietary name develop a sufficient general usage to be safely called generic?"
From Brand Names to Generic Terms
These words below have gradually slipped from brand names to generic terms:
- Elevator and escalator were both originally trademarks of the Otis Elevator Company.
- Zipper: A name given to a 'separable fastener' by the B.F. Goodrich Company many years after it was invented. The new name helped the zipper attain popularity in the 1930s.
- Loafer: For a moccasin-like shoe.
- Cellophane: For a transparent wrap made of cellulose.
- Granola: A trademark registered in 1886 by W.K. Kellogg, now used for a 'natural' kind of breakfast cereal.
- Ping pong: For table tennis, a trademark registered by Parker Brothers in 1901.
- David Crystal, Words, Words, Words. Oxford University Press, 2006
- Allan Metcalf, Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success. Houghton Mifflin, 2002