First published March 3, 2011.
When I saw Sergiy Sivochek’s post about the PING PONG trademark, I thought it sounded familiar — and it is! Pamela Chestek and I swatted it back and forth down in the comments of this doohickey a while back. Seems that maybe, perhaps, the matter of whether PING PONG really functions as a trademark will be settled?:
I guess we will have to wait and see whether Ping Pong is destined to join the company of Yo-Yo, Aspirin and all other genericised trademarks, or if Escalade Sports will be able to steer the mark away from the danger. We might not even have to wait for long before getting some answers as Escalade Sports recently sued a Delaware corporation, Sandman Table Tennis LLC, over the mark. (The complaint can be viewed here.) Given that Escalade Sports is aggressively asserting its rights to Ping-Pong, I will not be surprised if Sandman attempts to defend itself by raising the genericism issue. That is, of course, if the case does not get quietly settled first.
I’d be surprised if they relied on anything but genericness (not” genericism,” at least in my book — that’s like a philosophy or religion of genericness, I think — and isn’t that already called something?) as a defense. I’d also be surprised if, as Sergiy acknowledges, this little misunderstanding isn’t privately resolved well before that happens, as I explained in my volley back to Pamela.
Some trademark rights are the ones that are never quite proved to be enforceable, after all.