• Part 2 – The Top 50 Brand Names People use as Generic Terms

Here is part 2 of our Top 50 Brand Names People use as Generic Terms. If you haven’t seen part 1 yet, click here.

26. Memory Stick

To make any comment about a memory stick would bring an understanding of passing a data storage item for use with various pieces of technology. Sony are the legal owners of this trademarked term and for all other companies, the correct and generic name is Flash memory storage device.

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27. Photoshop

A phrase used in graphic design circles when talking about the use of software when working with images. To ‘photoshop’ an image has become a commonly used term, but Adobe own the trademark to this word as well as the software it relates to. For any other programmes, the image is subject to the generic phrase of photo manipulation.

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28. Ping Pong

A slang phrase for many to describe the sport, but a trademark in existence for over 100 years now and now owned by Parker Brothers. It was the name given to their tables due to the sound of the ball hitting the surface and the official word for any other brand is table tennis.

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29. Onesies

A love it or hate it product which has burst onto the leisure clothing market recently and has quickly picked up the term of Onesie. The only company allowed to call their products this is Gerber Childrenswear. They are fiercely protective of the name and also own the only rights to the name Twosies and Funzies.

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30. Post-it

Popular little yellow sticky notelets which have become an integral part of office life, it is a consumer generic term in the USA and the UK but the name Post-it is owned by 3M. For all other brands, the name is a sticky note.

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31. Pot Noodle

A very popular name in the United Kingdom and one used for any plastic snack pot of instant noodles. It’s a brand trademark which is owned by Unilever and whilst many people may say they are having a Pot Noodle for lunch, in reality it’s a tub of instant noodles.

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32. Powerpoint

Anyone not using the Microsoft presentation creating software package should steer clear of using their trademarked name of Powerpoint. It’s become a worldwide known word and is part of business lexicography, but for any other company used, the generic term is a slide show presentation programme.

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33. Pritt Stick

Now very much part of daily language use and even printed in UK national newspapers on at least two occasions incorrectly, Henkel own this trademark and the eminent journalists of the broadsheets should have considered if they actually should have used the term glue stick.

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34. Rizla

Imperial Tobacco own the right to call their products Rizla but it’s a term which has come to mean the same thing to all smokers and with any other brand would be known as rolling paper.

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35. Rollerblade

To rollerblade is a common term which describes a popular past time and kind of footwear, but the word is trademarked to Italian company, Nordica. For all other manufacturers, they are bound by law to call their products inline skates; the official name is also given to the fast-moving sport.

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36. Scalextric

Many children have happy memories of setting up their Scalextric track in their bedroom – and for many years, this was the only brand widely available. Other companies now make similar games and the name has stuck – but Scalextric is owned by Hornby Railways and the actual term is slot cars.

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37. Scotch Tape

Scotch Tape is listed in dictionaries as a phrase which is both trademarked and generic. However, by law 3M own the name, clear adhesive tape is the generic phrase and the correct usage is ‘Scotch brand cellophane tape’.

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38. Sellotape

A word which dictionaries list as both a generic term and a trademarked product, the Sellotape Company is owned by Henkel Consumer Adhesives. For everyone else, this essential day to day product with its frustrating ability to hide its cut end is called clear adhesive tape.

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39. Sea-Doo

If you’re in America or Canada and you mention that you’re out for the day on your sit-down personal watercraft, you could well get some confused faces in return. Say you’re heading out to burn off a few miles on your Sea-Doo and the mists will clear for them. Trademark owning company Bombardier Recreational Products own the rights to the name and hold just over 50% of the market share in the US.

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40. Stanley Knife

Whilst any knife not produced by the Stanley Works should be called a utility knife, the term Stanley Knife is so evocative of a particular style of bladed tool that it’s now sometimes used in the media as an explanatory name rather than the correct generic phrase.

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41. Super Glue

If you’ve broken your favourite vase, it is time to reach for the cyanoacrylate adhesive to save the day. Not sure what shelf that will be on in the DIY store? It’s the generic term for Superglue and unless it’s manufactured by the Super Glue Corporation, this is the product you should be asking for to save your family heirloom.

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42. Super Heroes

Super Heroes or Superhero? The difference may seem small, but to DC Comics and Marvel Comics, the space between the words means the difference between breaking or complying with a trademark. They own the brand Super Heroes, anything else just isn’t an original.

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43. Tannoy

The popular UK product used across sport stadiums and at village fetes to announce the dog show is about to start, the generic phrase is a public address system. It’s a product-based name owned by Tannoy Ltd and for every other manufacturer, it’s safer to stick with the now common term PA system instead.

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44. Tupperware

First sold in 1946, Tupperware is the name owned by Earl Tupper and synonymous with parties across the world, especially in the 1970s and 1980s when it was a phenomenally popular item to own in the kitchen. All other companies have to use at least the generic name which is plastic storage containers.

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45. Vaseline

A very well-known generic term used across the world, but in fact a legally owned name by Unilever. For times when skin lubricant is required and there’s no Vaseline on the shelf, ask the staff for a pot of petroleum jelly.

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46. Velcro

Well known as a generic term, but a trademarked one owned by the Velcro Company. If you’ve ever searched for Velcro and seen instead products called hook and loop fasteners, this is the generic name for exactly the same product.

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47. Walkman

A word which was legally deemed to have passed into common usage in 2002, but is still trademark owned by the Sony Corporation. The non-Sony name for this portable device is a personal stereo, reaching the heights of popularity in the mid-1980s.

SONY Walkman

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48. Winnebago

A term used to describe a particular style of American motorhome, but is legally a name owned by Winnebago Industries for their own vehicles only. For non-Winnebago produced coach built vehicles, the actual name is a recreational vehicle – or RV.

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49. Yoyo

Deemed a generic term in 1965, but before then trademark owner Duncan said ‘if it’s not a Duncan, it’s not a yo-yo’. A toy first launched in 1929 and a worldwide hit for decades to come, most people used the term yo-yo not realising it was a branded name and that they should be calling their own version a toy on a string.

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50. Zipper

Long since termed generic and almost identical to how it looked when first introduced to the world, the word zipper is still owned by the Universal Fastener Company. Invented in 1917, the term for any product not produced by the legal name owners is a separable fastener.

Zipper

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