Good news. We have been expanding the website by adding examples and references for generic use of trademarks.
The Washington Post (375)
Every year we want to share with you the status of our website.
In 2020 we added 200 brands to our genericide list. An incredible number. This brings the total to 400 entries.
The genericide list only existed in offline form. In 2019, a website was set up to host the information online. Last year, 150 brands were put online. The remaining brands will be uploaded in the coming years.
We only received a very limited amount of visitors on our new website. We will work to increase the number of visitors in the coming year.
While setting up this website and collecting information, I found a (relatively) small number of freely available sources.
In this article I will share them with you.
Free trademark information
Let us start with two projects of the Wikimedia Foundation: Wikipedia and Wikidata. They contain a lot of useful information. We help them as well, read our article How does genericides.org give back to the community?
“We’re a company that’s so successful and everywhere you go, you see a scratchy, hairy fastener and you say…
Hey, that’s Velcro.”
So begins the video the Velcro company released end of 2017. They attempt to protect their brand against genericide by releasing the video in which they ask the public "to stop saying “Velcro” and start instead saying “hook and loop.”
Analysing whether a certain trademark has become a genericised trademark is incredibly difficult.
One of the ways to help this analysis, is media usage. How is the brand name used in different media?
Link to newspapers
Today we added a new possibility to our website. It is now possible to link a trademark in our database to a mention in a newspaper. Look on the entry page "Astroturf" for an example (box on the top right).
Genericide is somethings described as brands being destroyed by their own success.
Several brands haven been very succesfull during the Corona crisis. Are they risking "to be destroyed"? Let us find out
Let us look into a first example, zoom, an online videoconferencing tool. The use has skyrocketed despite some privacy concerns, and many people and families are setting up "zoom calls". There is the concept of zoombombing, in which an intruder joins an ongoing call to wreak havoc.
The degree of distinctiveness exhibited by a trademark affects its eligibility to enforce it. In the US, distinctiveness is typically classified into four categories enumerated by the Second Circuit in Abercrombie and Fitch Co. v. Hunting World. Other legislators have followed the Abercrombie framework from that case, so it is interesting to add this to our database.
As of today, we more clearly indicate the source of information that led us to include a certain brand in our website.
Let us take the famous example of the Post-it. This brand name was known by three distinct sources: Our own analysis, DBAPE, and Wikipedia. We are constantly adding other sources of information as well.
As of today, we added to new fields to our database: firstly the geographical scope of a certain brand, secondly we added a link to "similar" brands on the brand pages.