Nancy Friedman reminds us how:

“A brand is an adjective, not a verb” is one of the tenets of trademark law. It’s the reason Google’s lawyers get on their high horse when we say “I Googled it” instead of “I performed a Google search,” and it’s why you blow your nose not in a Kleenex but in “a Kleenex-brand facial tissue.” (Sure you do.) Turning a trademark into a verb, the argument goes, dilutes it into a generic term.

But what if the company itself is doing the verbing? It’s happening a lot these days.

Just remember: There’s nothing weirder, or worser, than the “verb” to trademark!  (Okay, an unauthorized use of a Calvin and Hobbes image might, by Bill Watterson’s lights (and I’d say mine too), be worser.)

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.

One thought on “Branding weirds language”
  1. Thanks for saying this. I tell my class that “trademark” is a verb only in the context of “trademarked goods” (i.e., goods bearing a trademark). Phrases like “trademarked name” or “trademarked logo” make no sense. If it’s a trademark, it’s a trademark; it’s not a “trademarked” word or phrase. We are voices crying in the wilderness on this one, and the worst offender is (are?) the media. –bc

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