[Wikipedia-l] Genericized trademarks (was Re: wikipedia in China)

Stirling Newberry stirling.newberry at xigenics.net
Sat Sep 25 05:38:15 UTC 2004

On Sep 25, 2004, at 1:28 AM, Michael Snow wrote:

> Jens Ropers wrote:
>> If it acts like napalm but just happens to contain ''slightly''   
>> different chemicals, ''plus added oxidisers'', then of course it's   
>> ''totally irresponsible'' to call the substance napalm.
>> Jayzuz, that would be like--like calling a land rover a jeep! Or   
>> calling a whirlpool a jacuzzi!! Or--gasp--calling photocopying   
>> xeroxing!!! How TOTALLY inaccurate!!!!
>> </irony>
> Actually, from the perspective of the owners of those respective  
> trademarks (Jeep, Jacuzzi, and Xerox) it would be totally inaccurate  
> and irresponsible. You may not personally care about such things, but  
> they would go to a great deal of effort to discourage people from  
> using those terms incorrectly.
> Wittingly or not, the elements of your analogy have a significant  
> point in common, which is that these are all trademarks in danger of  
> genericide (fortunately, a much less violent demise than those you  
> have been arguing about). Interestingly enough, I discovered that our  
> article on napalm states that it too is a trademark, belonging in this  
> case to Dow Chemical. However, my initial research was unable to  
> verify this claim. Does anybody have a source that could back this up?  
> I rather wonder whether napalm as a trademark might already have gone  
> generic, given how many people use it to mean any gasoline-based  
> military incendiary device, as shown by this discussion.
> Instead of flaming each other from divergent points of view, perhaps  
> we could redirect our focus to getting facts correct in our articles.
> --Michael Snow
> ______________________


Urban legend (currently in some wiki articles) Napalm is not a  
trademark. Napalm-B was used in Vietnam, and the word is now "a generic  
term for jellied gasoline". That is gasoline stablized by use of  

And genericide isn't a crime, the accepted definition removes trademark  
status when a word enters common use. Companies discourage use of  
trademarked words as regular words, not because it is against the law,  
but because it is not against the law.

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