A genericized trademark is commonly referred to as a generic trademark and is a name that has a highly generic description with a general class of product or service. Genericized trademarks are names, words or sayings that are used frequently among the public and have hence lost their distinctive and unique element. It is important to understand the types of generic trademarks to avoid and how to prevent your mark from becoming colloquial.
Trademark genericide explained
It is vital to be aware of the risks of generic trademarks as once a mark becomes ‘common use’ with the public it loses its distinctive nature and thus loses is exclusive rights. Essentially all trademarks should be distinctive of the product, services or company it represents but in truth, many marks fall somewhere between distinctive and generic.
A trademark will be found as generic where the product it represents a specific product or service yet has acquired ‘market dominance’ and as a result, caused ‘mind share’ of the trademark. In other words, it is where the name of the good or service becomes the actual good or service as opposed to the brand identity of it. Examples of generic trademarks are; Google, Hoover and Cellotape.
In essence, a generic trademark loses its meaning among the public – whether they are the general public or a targeted group by which the trademark intended to be advertised with, and as such, the owner cannot own exclusive rights to the marks. If the general public use a trademark term in every day context this will render the mark unregisterable.