Re:       Re: Trademark status of "whizzinator"

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sun Apr 24 22:43:09 UTC 2005

In a message dated 4/24/05 2:57:03 PM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

> Ah, I see I must have misunderstood the range of the term
> "genericide" [I plead guilty to the editorial use of "so-called" as a
> modifier of "genericide", but that's a different matter], which I
> thought could be appropriately applied to any (and not necessarily
> legal) generic spreading of a trademark term, whether we're talking
> about pharmaceuticals, household products, or drug-test-evading
> prosthetic penises.  If "genericide" can't be used this way, I as a
> linguist/lexicographer (as opposed to a legal scholar) would still be
> in the market for a term that *can* be used to describe *any* such
> broadening of a trade-name to refer to the product, even if it's just
> Michael Lewis (and those who edited his article, leaving in his
> lower-case descriptive use of the term in "whizzinators, they called
> them") who uses it that way.  In that sense, one swallow (best
> avoided in this context) does make a lexical item, at least a nonce
> one.  But I'll accept that it doesn't constitute true "genericide".
> Larry

> Since Larry has indicated that he doesn't much like the term "genericide," 
> I was surprised to see him using it at all, much less appropriating it as a 
> term of art in linguistics (or even a term in general American English). 
> But be that as it may, I still don't see how one can say that this one 
> instance indicates significant "broadening of a trade-name to refer to the 
> product," since there is no indication that (a) the author didn't know that he 
> wasn't dealing with a trademark that (b) the people he was quoting didn't think 
> of the term as a trademark, and that (c) the manufacturers of the product 
> think of the name as a trademark. (My guess is that they have a patent on the 
> damn thing, which would keep anyone else from even making it, so they don't have 
> to worry about registering the trademark.) As Larry says, at best we can be 
> certain only that we have here a nonce usage, one that is based on the 
> author's lack of knowledge about the word that he is using.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list