The Viking Blog

8 stationery brands that suffered genericide

8 stationery brands that suffered genericide

Tipp-Ex

Tipp-Ex is one of the best-known cases of genericide in the
UK. Its US counterpart Wite-Out has suffered a similar fate, suggesting that
people simply aren’t keen on referring to this type of product as correction
fluid
.

The brand name is not only used to refer to ‘liquid paper’,
but also the action of using it – for example, “I’m going to Tipp-Ex out this
mistake.” The International
Trademark Association
states that companies should never use a trademark as
a verb.

200-300-1

Biro

Laszlo Jozsef Biro invented the Biro pen, and attained a
patent for his design in 1938. Today, the registered trademark is owned by BIC,
which has sold plastic ballpoint pens under the BIC® Cristal® trademark since
1950. However, Biro is still commonly used as a generic term for ballpoint
pens.

200-300-1

Sellotape

American inventor Richard Drew unveiled the first sticky
tape in 1930, and the manufacturer 3M branded it Scotch tape. However, it’s the
Sellotape name that’s become genericised here in the UK. This British brand
released its sticky tape in 1937, in time for the war effort.

Used to seal ammunition boxes and help protect windows
against bomb damage, the ubiquity of Sellotape from 1939 to 1945 thrust it into
the public hive mind. This surely contributed to the brand’s genericide.

200-300-1200-300-1

Filofax

Derived from ‘file of facts’, the Filofax trademark was
registered in 1930. The catchiness of this name over the generic ‘personal
organiser’ is the likely culprit of its genericide.

200-300-1

Post-it®

3M scientist Dr Spencer Silver invented the first-ever sticky
note
by accident: when he was trying to develop a super-strong adhesive, he
came across a glue that stuck but didn’t bind. The resulting product was
released under the name Press ‘n Peel, but the brand was soon rechristened
Post-it®.

Post-it® notes were the first product of their kind, so it’s
little wonder the brand name is used generically. People never had a reason to
refer to them as anything else, until competitors released their own versions
and had to call them something new.

BUBBLE WRAP®

Sealed Air Corporation requests that we refer to its trademarked
product as BUBBLE WRAP® cushioning material. The generic term, air bubble
cushioning material, is a bit of a mouthful, so it’s no surprise people have
adopted the bubble wrap name.

BUBBLE WRAP®

Sealed Air Corporation requests that we refer to its trademarked
product as BUBBLE WRAP® cushioning material. The generic term, air bubble
cushioning material, is a bit of a mouthful, so it’s no surprise people have
adopted the bubble wrap name.

200-300-1

Jiffy Bag

Envelopes lined with foam or what we now know as air bubble
cushioning material are padded
mailing envelopes
, though you’re likely to call them Jiffy bags. The Jiffy
Padded Bag® was first manufactured in 1964, and became part of Pregis
Corporation in 2005.

200-300-1

Pritt Stick

Henkel’s Pritt Stick is the original glue stick. It was invented
by Dr Wolfgang Dierichs in 1967, who had a eureka moment after watching a woman
apply lipstick. Today, approximately 130 million Pritt Sticks are sold annually
– is it any wonder the trademark has undergone genericide?

Did you realise that
these stationery terms were brand names? Do you know of any more stationery
brands that have suffered genericide? Let us know in the comments section
below!

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