A round-up of fodder for trademark trivia

January 18, 2013

TrademarksBefore I went to law school, I was a journalist and every so often, I’d get polite-but-firm letters or see tsk-tsk ads in trade magazines from trademark-holders.

“Jeep® is a registered trademark,” they’d chide. “All other vehicles should be called a 4 x 4 truck,” or “If it’s not from Bic, it isn’t Wite-Out.”

I don’t know whether it was my lack of regard for trademarks or the fact that I was 22 and had, according to some, a small issue with authority, but I pretty much disregarded these scoldings. Even so, over time, I was exposed to enough of them that I accumulated a pretty good understanding of which commonly used terms were actually trademarked.

Or I thought I had, that is.

When I read this list, I realized I was the first 22-year-old in the history of the universe (really!) to not know as much as he thought he did.

I was not aware, for example, that not all slow cookers are Crock-Pots. Here in the Midwest, where church basements across the are perfumed by simmering vats of chicken-cheese chili and Sloppy Joe mix, “slow cooker” isn’t really a term we use.

To me, calling it “table tennis” if it isn’t Ping-Pong brand seems like you’re taking it way too seriously.

I actually did know that PowerPoint was a brand name, but I was not aware that there were other “presentation graphics programs” besides PowerPoint.

Oh, and Fluffernutter? I didn’t know that was a trademark, but more importantly, I don’t know why anyone would want to trademark such an…unusual sounding word.