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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Rusty, 13 Dec 2004 @ 11:00pm

    Soon to be forgotten

    Tivo had brand dominance for a while, but now are losing it. What a stupid time to crack down on your trademark.

    (In all fairness, I'm sure their legal department is fighting with their marketing department. The stupid legal people... but the marketing people are equally stupid for not standing up to their legal people)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Precision Blogger, 14 Dec 2004 @ 10:19am

    Just saying "Tivo" isn't good enough...

    Trademarks have to be adjectives. If we refer to our wonderful boxes as "TiVos", the company will lose its trademark. Tivo is not copletely consistent about this themselves (see their website), but basically, they sell a "Tivo Box" and "Tivo Services". (See, adjectives!)
    - Precision Blogger
    http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Buffy, 14 Dec 2004 @ 2:58pm

    TIVO bans TIVO-like

    A have a better idea, just buy a cheaper and better Comcast-DVR and screw TIVO. THis shows TiVO are just as big of losers as the media companies they fight. Maybe they should send their letter to some Chinese website - they like censorship there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.