Protecting Your Ideas - What is “genericide”?

A word that initially functions as a trademark can lose its trademark significance and become a generic term if consumers improperly use the mark in a generic sense to identify a particular type of product or service regardless of source. This phenomenon is sometimes called “genericide.”

Former trademarks like “kerosene,” “escalator,” and “aspirin” all met this fate. Consistent and proper use of trademarks and consumer education can help combat genericide. For example, the Xerox Company has successfully protected its XEROX® mark from genericide by investing in special advertising to educate the public about the proper use of the mark.