Velcro Companies wants people to stop saying “Velcro straps.” It wants it so badly, in fact, that it posted a YouTube video of a song-and-dance number—performed in part by trademark lawyers—that pleads for people to say “hook-and-loop fasteners” instead.
David S. Gold, a trademark lawyer with Cole Schotz PC, Hackensack, N.J., isn’t a lawyer for Velcro and didn’t appear in the video, but he pointed out that the video’s humor has a point.
“The law actually requires that trademark owners not only police their marks, but also educate the consuming public and, for lack of a better term, 'train' the general public to refer to the product/brand properly,” Gold told Bloomberg BNA.
Trademark owners are responsible in part for staving off what has become known as “genericide,” a process by which consumers convert the meaning of a brand name into the generic term for a product or service.
It’s not very common, but over the last century, several notable brand names, including escalator, aspirin, cellophane, and thermos, have become generic. That means that any producer of a particular type of goods can use that name, and it can’t be protected as a trademark any more.
If the Velcro Companies has its way, Velcro won’t suffer the same fate.
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