Examples of Generic Trademarks
Some examples of generic terms would be: laptop computer, pool table, snow skies, surfboard, and trademark law firm. Each of these terms designate what the product or service is, but do not distinguish the source of the product or service. If a generic term is used within a trademark, the owner of the registered trademark will not be able to claim any exclusive rights to the generic term. Any generic term is free to be used by anyone in commerce.
Valid trademarks can also become generic if consumers begin to use the trademark in ways that cause the trademark to become the generic name for the product. Some popular examples of trademarks that have become generic enough to lose protection are THERMOS, ASPIRIN and VELCRO. Current trademarks that are close to becoming generic because of consumer misuse are BAND-AID, JACUZZI, XEROX and KLEENEX. These companies have prevented the loss of their trademark through heavy advertising and continual trademark enforcement.
A way to prevent a trademark from becoming generic, is to only use the trademark in advertising as an adjective, and never as a verb (i.e. to Xerox) or a noun (i.e. Xeroxes).