What is Brand Genericide

What is Brand Genericide

Nintendo Genericide picture

Your brand is valuable. Protecting your brand with a registered trademark is important to maximize your brand awareness and protecting consumers from inferior impostors. However, if you fail to enforce your trademark rights when they are violated, you risk losing your brand name to genericide. Protecting your brand from the beginning is essential.

What is Genericide?

Genericide occurs when a brand name becomes a generic term used to describe the item associated with the brand. When this occurs, your brand loses its distinctiveness in the market and you risk losing your trademark rights.

Brands that have fallen victim to genericide include:

  • Escalator,
  • Thermos,
  • Laundromat,
  • Aspirin,
  • Yo-Yo, and
  • Zipper.

Enforcing Your Trademark Rights

To avoid losing your brand to genericide, you must enforce your trademark rights from the beginning. Simply registering your mark with the USPTO or State is not enough. 

You should consistently monitor the use of your mark and act promptly if you discover someone infringing on your rights. Being overly aggressive with enforcement may be bad PR, but you need to find the balance in order to protect your investment. 

Other Steps to Prevent Genericide

You can prevent genericide by keeping your trademark associated with your brand. Educate the public and other companies on the proper use of your brand name, including adding a ™ symbol or ® (after registration).

When BAND-AID risked losing its brand to genericide, it ran the “I am stuck on BAND-AID brand because BAND-AID’s stuck on me” campaign to inform the public that BAND-AID is a brand name and not a generic term for an adhesive bandage.

Always use your brand as a descriptive adjective followed by a noun describing your product, such as Q-Tips cotton swabs or BMW cars.

Avoid using your brand as a verb. “Xerox” became a generic verb for copying, so the company ran the, “You can’t Xerox a Xerox on a Xerox. But we don’t mind at all if you copy a copy on a Xerox copier” campaign to remind the public that Xerox is a brand-name copy machine and not a generic term for making a photocopy of a document.

Google and Ugg recently protected their brands from genericide but not all cases are successful. Protecting your brand from genericide from the beginning prevents the loss of your brand later.

Hire an Experienced New Jersey Trademark Attorney

Hiring an experienced trademark attorney at Brown & Blaier, PC, in the beginning, is an investment in your brand. Our attorneys can assist you from creating a plan for your trademark to filing the application and monitoring its status.

Trademark registration with USPTO is not guaranteed but the attorneys at Brown & Blaier, PC can give you quality legal guidance throughout the process. Call us today at (732) 490-8200 or contact us online to learn how we can help you protect your brand with a trademark.

Adam Blaier, Esq.


Skip to content