Watch Out How You Describe TiVo
from the for-the-love-of-trademarks dept
Because we always get comments saying this, let's get this out of the way before the rest of this post: yes, the law says that companies need to actively police their trademarks or risk losing them. However, when the end-result comes out like the following, isn't that a good indication that the system is seriously screwed up? On to the actual story... Apparently, TiVo is getting fearful that they're going to lose the term "TiVo" into the dangerous regions of the public domain, and therefore have felt the need to send out warning letters to news organizations that use TiVo as a verb or saying things like "TiVo-like." For a while, TiVo used to be thrilled that they were getting so much publicity from these sorts of "generic" mentions, but then the lawyers reminded them all about Xerox and Kleenex and any number of other "lost" generic names. What's odd, though, is that it's tough to see how the company could have any control over news organizations, who shouldn't be burdened by trademark law in reporting about companies or products. You don't see newspapers have to put a registered trademark (TM) symbol after products they write about. Also, while the idea of stopping the use of TiVo as a verb ("I TiVoed that show last night") makes some sense, the ban on "TiVo-like" (used here often enough) makes no sense. The whole reason we use "TiVo-like" is that more people recognize that then DVR or PVR. However, by designated something as being "like" TiVo, we are clearly making the point that a TiVo is a unique, branded product -- and not a generic one. Otherwise, we would just say "TiVo" and leave the "-like" alone.