12 popular words you didn't know started as brands
Some companies' products and services become so popular their brand names become common nouns and verbs. In fact, you might be using such words every day – read on to find 12 of the most unexpected examples.
All of the trademarks from the list were once registered by different companies. They got the right to use the symbol ® to inform the public that these names were owned by the companies and legally protected.
Some of the trademarks from the list have already expired – the term of a trademark is usually 10 years. After the completion of the term, the owner has to renew the trademark for another 10 years in order not to lose it.
Registered by: Gerber Childswear, still active
Generic term: an infant bodysuit
Registered by: Kawasaki, still active
Generic term: personal watercraft
Registered by: Jacuzzi, still active
Generic term: a hot tub
Registered by: Pfizer, still active
Generic term: lip balm
Registered by: Otis Elevator Company, the rights were lost in the 1950s
Generic term: moving staircase
Registered by: Bayer, still active in more than 80 countries, but declared generic in the US
Generic term: acetylsalicylic acid
Registered by: Unilever, still active, most often used as a generic term in the USA and Canada
Generic term: cotton swabs
Registered by: National Association of Realtors, still active, refers to a member of the Association
Generic term: real estate agent
Registered by: Taiyo Nippon Sanso, still active, but "thermos" in lower case was declared generic in the United States Second Circuit
Generic term: vacuum-insulated flask
Registered by: Unilever, still active
Generic term: petroleum jelly
Registered by: Velcro Companies, still active
Generic term: hook-and-loop fastener
Registered by: J. Jaques & Son Ltd, later passed to Parker Bros, still active, but not for all types of table tennis equipment
Generic term: table tennis
Which one surprised you the most? Did you know about any of these? Would you like to add any words to this list?
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