Brand names

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Apr 25 22:52:08 UTC 2003

> word "Coke" in their ads. In Canada, btw, unless I am
> incorrect the word
> "aspirin" is still registered as a trade mark to Bayer.

That may be true. The laws differ from country to country. In the case of
"Aspirin," Britain and France never recognized the German company's
trademark on the word--Aspirin hit the market in 1914. The US, not being at
war with Germany at the time, recognized it initially and then in 1917, when
it entered the war, stripped Bayer of all its American assets as an enemy
alien corporation. The Sterling Drug Company bought Bayer's US facilities
and trademarks at government auction. After the war, Bayer was allowed to
sell its products in the US, but it couldn't use the names "Bayer" or
"Aspirin," those belonged to Sterling. So the "Bayer Aspirin" sold in the US
was not made by Bayer. In 1921, the US Supreme Court ruled that "aspirin"
had lost its distinctive nature (setting the precedent for this type of
action) and Sterling lost the exclusive right to the term. In the 1990s,
Bayer bought Sterling, finally reacquiring the right to use its own name in
the US.

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