Just saw a really funny piece in the Washington Post by Frank Ahrens about a legal letter they received from Google’s lawyers, accusing the Post of “genericide”.
Wikipedia defines genericide as “The process by which trademark rights are diminished or lost as a result of common use in the marketplace.”
Basically Google is going all out to try and stop their trademark becoming a noun. Good luck to them, I say. Try getting people not to use ‘Hoover’ as a generic term these days.
I like the examples that Google’s lawyers used to draw the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable use of the word Google. From the Washington Post’s article:
“Appropriate: He ego-surfs on the Google search engine to see if he’s listed in the results.
Inappropriate: He googles himself.
Appropriate: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party.
Inappropriate: I googled that hottie.”
As Ahrens notes, “It’s a matter of debate whether it’s appropriate or inappropriate for a market-leading company worth $113 billion to use the word “hottie” in official correspondence.”