The USPTO can cancel the registration of a mark that becomes the generic word for an entire category of products instead of a proprietary word to identify the offerings of a specific company. Terms such as cellophane, escalator, laundromat, thermos, and trampoline used to be proprietary marks but are now treated as generic words. Companies sometimes use the word BRAND and a generic product description after their marks (i.e., KLEENEX® brand facial tissues) so their marks are not treated as generic. Test your knowledge of these popular brands, which are sometimes used to reference a general category of products but are still registered with the USPTO:
Friday Factoid: Popular Brands That Are Often Misused
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Jonathan Wachs provides strategic counseling and operational advice to clients in the areas of intellectual property, commercial transactions, and outsourced legal departments. As head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group, Mr. Wachs works closely with clients to develop, register, analyze, enforce, and transfer intellectual property assets in a customized, cost-efficient, and highly effective manner. Additionally, he conducts intellectual property audits through which clients learn the nature and value of their intellectual property assets and the steps needed to protect such assets from misappropriation or dilution. As a business lawyer, he has successfully negotiated and completed several multimillion-dollar business transactions and has served as general counsel to several small and midsize businesses and organizations in various industries and professions.
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