9 October 2017Trademarks

WIPR survey: Readers back Velcro video in genericide fight

WIPR readers have said that taking an unconventional approach to trademark enforcement can help brands prevent their marks becoming generic.

In September, Velcro released a video showing lawyers who represent the brand singing a song that asks consumers to stop using the word “Velcro” when describing its famous fastening material.

“We’re a company that’s so successful, that everywhere you go, you see a scratchy, hairy fastener and you say ‘hey, that’s Velcro’,” sang the lawyers.

They added: “You think it’s awesome for us, we’re famous, but we’re lawyers and it’s causing us grief, because there are trademark laws being broken, it’s all here in this short legal brief.”

According to WIPR’s most recent survey, 59% of readers believe that out-of-the-box approaches such as Velcro’s can help prevent genericide.

“It will help but it certainly won’t be dispositive. It’s simply a creative way to educate the public, and will be evidence in defending against any claim of genericide,” said one reader.

Many of the respondents noted the public element of the video. “If the public takes heed, it starts to reverse the genericisation of the mark”, explained a reader.

Another added: “It is a creative approach to reach an audience that they might otherwise be unable to reach and it also helps to educate that audience about IP rights.”

Other readers were less optimistic, with one noting that trying to change people’s use of verbs is unrealistic at this point”.

They added: “People equate Velcro with hook and loop fasteners. They are the same thing to anyone outside of the industry. But it was a clever way to bring genericide into the public eye.”

For this week’s survey, we ask: Do you agree with the Federal Circuit’s decision in  Aqua Products that IPR petitioners have to prove unpatentability of amended claims? Click here to answer.

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More on this story

28 September 2017   A viral video released by Velcro encouraging consumers “not to say Velcro” could be useful when trying to avoid ‘genericide’, according to trademark lawyers.
29 August 2017   Google’s trademark should not be deemed a generic term for searching the internet, according to 66% of respondents to WIPR’s latest survey.
6 June 2018   Velcro has released another music video urging people to use its trademark correctly, in response to a video it released last year.