Examples of old trademarks that lost their certificate and have become general
Below is a list of old marks that used to have protection as legal trademarks, however they have since lost their trademark status because they have become the generic or common name for their respective product or service, and are now used by the general public and consumers, and, by competitors to promote their own products.
A few of these marks are still considered as active trademarks in various countries, and as such they still have legal protection with in these territories.
This mark, owned by Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and life sciences company, is still legally registered a trademark for the drug consisting on acetylsalicylic acid in some 80 countries worldwide, among them Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and other countries in the EU, however in the United States it has lost its trademark status and is now considered a generic name for the drug, free for use by any pharma company providing it.
This mark was originally registered for a device developed for transportation safety. The device is used to assist drivers in night time or in bad weather and help them avoid dangers by means of illumination.
This mark was originally registered in Europe by Innovia Films Ltd for the protection of their chemically engineered product, which was a thin, transparent sheet made of regenerated cellulose, and is still in force in the EU as well as in other territories.
In the U.S. however it was previously registered by DuPont but has since been deemed general.
This trademark was originally registered by ‘the Dry Ice Corporation of America in 1925’. The company lost this mark which is now considered general description of any solid form of carbon dioxide.
Now known as a general/descriptive name for any mechanism of elevating staircase, but this used to be a trademark of Otis Elevator Company.
Formerly a trademark owned by Motorola; ruled as a general name for any cellular or regular phone with a ‘flip’ or ‘clamshell’, open-shut mechanism.
Mark used for coin operated laundry shops. Formerly a Westinghouse Electric Corporation trademark, registered in the U.S. in the 1940s (automatic washing machine) and 1950s (coin laundry) has since expired and is now considered a general term for such establishments.
Sellotape is a brand of transparent, cellulose-based, adhesive tape, and is the leading brand for such products in the UK. The term has become generic name for clear adhesive tape products in the UK, Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Israel, India, Serbia, Japan, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Originally registered and owned by Thermos GmbH for a vacuum flask; declared generic in the U.S. in 1963.
Originally a trademark of the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company, is now generally used to describe devices consisting of strong fabric stretched between a steel frame using many coiled springs.
Lost trademarks due to reasons other than genericization
In this next list you will find examples of marks which were originally legally protected trademarks, but have been lost due to abandonment, non-renewal or improper issuance (the generic term pre-dated the registration).
Some of these marks are still considered legally registered trademarks in various countries.
This mark was originally claimed by Apple, Inc. but has since been cancelled.
Another interesting example of a trademark that was claimed by Apple Inc. for their digital applications platform. Apple filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com over the use of “Appstore for Amazon”, however it abandoned the trademark and the lawsuit after Apple’s false advertising claim in the lawsuit. However, the mark was reclaimed, and it remains a service mark of Apple Inc.
Now days, the publishers with the strongest connection to the original brand are Merriam-Webster, but they only have registered rights over the mark “Merriam-Webster”. Other dictionaries are legally published as “Webster’s Dictionary”.
The mark ZIP Code was originally registered as a service mark but it has since expired.
Originally a trademark of B.F. Goodrich for use in rubber boots, has since been cancelled and can now be used by other manufacturers.