Velcro BVBA, makers of the famous “VELCRO” brand hook and loop fasteners, have taken a humorous and effective stab at trying to assure that it retains trademark protection for that mark. Its concern is that people are referring to all “hook and loop” fasters as “Velcro” when, if fact, they are not manufactured or licensed by Velcro BVBA. Under US trademark law, if a name becomes the common descriptive name of a product (called genericness) it loses its trademark protection. Among the well-known product names that have fallen victim to becoming generic (at least under US trademark law) are the following: Aspirin, Cellophane, Escalator, Trampoline, Thermos, Dry Ice, Kerosene, Laundromat, Linoleum, App Store, ZIP Code, Zipper and TV Dinner.
Among those that are in danger of becoming generic (in the US) are the following: Styrofoam, Teflon, Q-Tips, Sharpie, Tupperware, Astro-Turf, Band-Aid, Bubble Wrap, ChapStick, Crock-Pot, Fiberglass, Formica, Frisbee, Kleenex, Lava Lamp, Memory Stick, Plexiglas, Popsicle, and, yes, VELCRO.
In an effort to educate the public and to retain trademark protection for VELCRO, the owners of the mark have posted this very funny and very effective video.