Common Trademarked Words

Since I got such an overwhelming response to my post yesterday (THANK YOU!) I thought I’d do a follow up post on what it means to trademark something and share common, every day words/items that you probably didn’t know are trademarked.

I was explaining the author story to my mom and she actually gave me a bit of insight in how the process works. A trademark is basically a brand on a product created by an individual or they’re using it in a different way that it won’t effect the original defintion of a word. For example, Kit Kat is a trademark with Hershey as it’s a popular chocolate candy. However, Google was able to use Kit Kat as a trademark as well because for them it had a secondary meaning not related to chocolate candy when they decided to name their OS (operating system) after it. It’s probably a given that they got permission to do so from Hershey as well.

**EDIT** Thanks to a comment made by fellow blogger Shalini I felt I should add to this post. She asked if words in the dictionary can be trademarked. The short answer is yes but again it goes back to how the word is being used. The best example is the world “apple”. In the dictionary, an apple is a round red fruit…. etc. However, the company that mass produces your Iphones has trademarked the word Apple (with a capital) and this is allowed because it does not infringe upon the original meaning of the word. ****

The cost of a trademark usually varies by state and can be anywhere between $100-$200 dollars. If your application to register a trademark gets approved then you are able to use your trademark in that state and sue anyone who uses it without express permission. Now if you want your trademark to be national, it’ll cost a bit more; up to $400 and you have to renew it every ten years for it to be valid. Even if you have a registered trademark, depending on the changing of the seasons, i.e. culture and society changes, if your trademark becomes something that is a commonly used saying or reference, it is possible for a party to fight you on said trademark on the grounds that it’s more generic now than it was before. It all depends really.

There are two main symbols used to indicate a trademark:

  • means that a trademark has been filed but it’s not registered yet. An application has been filed or will be filed.
  • ® means that a trademark application has been filed and accepted and you received a certificate of registration.

There’s also the © but that has to do with copyright and is something I can get into in a different post if you all are interested.

Anyway, here are some examples of common words that are currently trademarked that we use all the time and the generic terms a different party has to use if they produce the same product:

  • BandAid is registered by Johnson & Johnson Company. The generic phrase you can use to describe something similar is self-adhesive bandage
  • Bubble Wrap is registered by Sealed Air Corporation. The generic phrase you can  use to describe something similar is packing material
  • Crock-Pot is registered by Sun-Beam Products. The generic phrase you can use to describe something similar is slow cooker
  • Google is registered by Google, Inc. The generic phrase you can use to describe something similar (even though we say Google it all the time) is search engine.
    • As an aside here, if you ever watch a movie and see them using a search engine that looks like YouTube or Google but is named something else, this is why.
  • Super Hero (two words) is registered by DC Comics Partnership and Marvel Characters, Inc. The generic phrase you can use to describe a hero not in these worlds is superhero (one word)
    • As you can see, two companies can register the same word but because the characters are in two different universes that will never overlap, it’s allowed.
  • Popsicle is registered by Conopco, Inc. The generic phrase you can use to describe a similar frozen treat is ice pop

So these are just a few examples. I could go on cause there are a ton and it can even get into commonly used conversational phrases as well but maybe I will save that for another post. I hope you all enjoyed this post and feel free to ask questions or share trademark examples you know of in the comments below.

(Source: RD)

27 thoughts on “Common Trademarked Words

  1. This is such a great post to do after the whole #cockygate debacle! (still can’t believe someone would openly abuse this system for their own personal gain *and* to kill competition) I think the author in question should have a look at this post! Excellent work!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mighty praise coming from you. Thank you so much! ❤ And I know right. I told my mom about it and she said good luck to the woman cause she's going to be fighting litigations for years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post! I think the difference between these ‘common’ words is that they were mostly made up and trademarked before they became commonly used due to brand popularity. Like Tissues vs. Kleenex. A lot of writers don’t realize they cant use names in published works such as Spiderman or kryptonite without permission. Cocky is a common word(Found in the dictionary) it is not unique to her use or the meaning of her use. (I guess sleeping on it hasn’t tempered my feelings on this) It is wrong that she be allowed to trademark a word that belongs to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well even then it depends. Simple things such as chapstick, super glue and velcro are also trademarked surprisingly. I totally thought about using the Kleenex example, haha. You are right though and I feel like that adds another element to how hard it is to be a writer because that is just another layer to your puzzle that you have to think about. I still agree with you about the author as well. I’m now wondering though if she has a legitimate certificate of registration or if she just filed an application for it that’s pending.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re an inspiration. I ended up writing a blog about this since I’ve touched on it before. Specific for a writer’s POV, as in, what can and cannot be done with trademarked words used in a novel. It’s not as dire as people think, Ms.Cocky is extreme, that is what makes me lean toward publicity stunt.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh please link me to that post! I would love to read it and I plan on making a post about copywriting as well and would love to mention and link other bloggers to your post. 🙂 I agree with you about the publicity stunt. I mean look how much she’s getting now even though its mostly negative. Shame ppl feel the need to do something extreme just to go viral.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I have this eerie feeling that this trademark thing is going to become a much bigger problem with opportunists taking advantage and trademarking to profit from or harass others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well it’s already been an issue long before Ms. Cocky as Sheryl calls her. Thing is though it’s not that easy to get a trademark. Just because she says she has one doesn’t mean she has one. My mom told me it’s probably still pending application approval and that can take months to years at a time. You can use the symbol even if your trademark is pending but it’s not official until its officially offical if that makes sense. And depends on if she trademarked just in her state or nationally and even if it’s nationally, doesn’t apply to people outside of this country who have their own trademark laws. That actually makes me feel a bit better about it all.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. See? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. It takes literal years to settle on trademark applications. They do not happen automatically. That’s pretty funny though that he even tried to dispute it considering Dr. Dre is not his government name, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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