Friday 22 February 2008

Darren Olivier

Change you can Xerox

In the much covered debate between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, the headlines have snatched onto Hilary Clinton's phrase "Change you can Xerox". Good news for Ms Clinton but a setback for the Xerox company's trade mark team who have a worldwide campaign aimed at clawing their trademark back from the public domain (genericide).

To date, the Xerox company has provided a successful example of a company which was able to prevent the genericide of its core trademark through an extensive public relations campaign advising consumers to "photocopy" instead of "Xeroxing" documents (the brand did become generic in Russian, Bulgarian, Portuguese and Romanian though). The Xerox company also has extensive operations in Africa, where its customers will be tuning into the US election extravaganza.

Genericide is a problem for brand owners worldwide (examples include owners of Aspirin, Vaseline, Escalator, Rooibos, Hoover and others). The problem is created in part by the brand's own success and also by a failure to properly police and control the usage of the trade mark. When someone as newsworthy as a Clinton (mis)uses the trademark it's back to base one for the brand owner.

Perhaps you hold the view that the Xerox company should be so lucky that their trade mark was used by Ms Clinton? After all, they did not have to pay an endorsement fee for the acknowledgement and the coverage of the debate is worldwide.

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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Write comments
7 March 2008 at 07:25 delete

Thanks to Jeremy, Roshana and Darren for sening me IP information. I read everything you send.It has been a help.
Currently, in touch with IPK in Germany to learn more about IP protection.
Cheers, Luke