Trademarks and recognition

kleenexWhen someone needs a tissue do they ask you for a tissue?  No.  They most likely will ask you if you have a Kleenex and not think anything about it.   Tissues are not Kleenex, but Kleenex is a brand of tissue.  It has become a household word and goes to show you how important a brand name is and why companies go to extreme lengths to protect their brand names or logos.  Another brand of tissues that you would never think to ask for is Puffs.  Puffs brand does not currently have the recognition that Kleenex has.

There are many other brand names that mean a generic product to us and we call all brands of that product by the most well-known name.  Coke is one.  People ask for a Coke when they mean a cola.  Scotch tape is another brand name we use for any tape.  In the office, we may not say we are going to the copy machine, we may say we are going to the Xerox machine.  The list goes on and on.  There’s Chapstick for any lip protection, Frisbee for any flying disk, Crock-pot for any slow cooker, Saran Wrap for any plastic wrap, Hershey’s for any chocolate syrup or Jell-O for any gelatin.  Can you imagine how happy this makes the manufacturers of these brands to know they have become household words to describe even their competitors?

Images and logos are protected at all lengths as well.  That man in the white suit with white hair and a goatee stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Even if you saw the picture of the man without the words Kentucky Fried Chicken, you know instantly what product it belongs to.  Can you imagine the lawsuit that would happen if another restaurant chose to use a similar image for their trademark?  And what about those golden arches; there’s no mistaking its McDonalds.  And as you know if you have children, they can spot those arches a mile away and know exactly what they mean.   Someone better not even think to use them on a vegetarian restaurant!  These two companies have worked too hard to have these images mean their product.

Football teams have their logos as well.  Recently, the Washington Redskins have been lost its trademark registration due to the possibility that Native Americans might get offended.  The battle over this trademark registration will most likely take a very long time as appeals are filed back and forth.  In the meantime, the Washington Redskins are allowed to continue to use their much recognized logo.

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