Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball
December 1, 2011 8:18 AM Subscribe
Why is a trademark weakened by inclusion of the
before the product name?
posted by nonreflectiveobject to law & government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It seems all the rage these days for companies to refer to their trademarked products without a definite article (see this thread
). I get the notion that this is both a trademark protection strategy and a marketing decision. The marketing angle seems clear to me, using the product's name in the fashion that one would use a person's name creates a sort of linguistic construct that causes us to subtly change our relationship to these products, yada yada yada. A bit gross, but I get what's going on there. However, the trademark part of it mystifies me. I keep hearing that attaching a definite article to a product weakens the trademark by making it generic, but that seems very counterintuitive. Wouldn't attaching a definite
article make a stronger case that that item is unique?