Velcro asserts its distinctiveness

Contributed by: Joshua Kwan

The Velcro brand recently released a video to reiterate that “Velcro” is the name of a brand and not of a particular good/service. For example, what we commonly refer to as velcro straps are actually called Hook-and-loop fasteners.

The reason they did this is because they are trying to prevent their trade mark in Velcro from becoming generic. A trade mark is any sign capable of being graphically represented that is used, or proposed to be used, by a trader to distinguish his goods or services from those of other traders. Classic examples include brand names, devices or logos and colours. To be registered as a trade mark, a sign has to be distinctive (and not descriptive) and invented words like VELCRO clearly fall within this definition. However, sometimes a brand becomes so successful that it becomes synonymous with the products it sells such that it becomes a descriptive name for the product. In such cases, the mark is said to become generic and the registration of the mark may be revoked. Some common examples of marks that have become generic in some countries include Aspirin and Escalator.

Watch the video below to find out why Velcro doesn’t want us to say “velcro”!


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