Can a company lose a trademark?

As a business owner, you protect your most precious brands and assets through copyright and trademark. These legal safeguards are part of the success of some of the world's most well-known products and services. These products can become so well-known that their name could be used interchangeably with other products; for example, you might say Kleenex to mean tissue or Band-Aid to mean bandage. Now, one of the world's most popular events could suffer from the overuse of its name.

Protection forever?
Believe it or not, a brand can lose its trademark and copyright protection because the name or product becomes too generic. When this happens, it can be devastating to a business and will almost always result in litigation, which will require knowledgeable legal representation.

To register and maintain a trademark or copyright, the petitioning person or company must prove to the government that their brand or product is distinguishable and has unique market value in its industry. A company can lose its utility patent protection after 20 years, which why we have generic medication like penicillin and the like.

However, a company can keep its trademarks for as long as it is used in commerce or is defended by its holder, according to the International Trade Administration. However, just because a company can forever keep its trademark, in theory, that doesn't always happen.

Brand genericide
The San Diego Comic-Con could fall as the latest victim to what industry experts call brand "genericide." The ever-popular comic book, superheroes, and technology event attracts more than 160,000 people annually, according to the organization's website.

Its popularity has attracted spin-off events in other locations around the world, but the use of the name Comic-Con at other events has not always won the favor of the non-profit organization that puts on the event in San Diego. Now, the organization is engaged in a legal battle to protect the use of its name.

The organization is arguing that the unfettered billing of "Comic-Con" at other events could harm the reputation and attendance of their flagship event in San Diego. A judge appears to be favoring the organization's need for protection of the name "Comic-Con," but 80 percent of consumers surveyed in a poll said they believe the name to be generic.

Although Comic-Con focuses on the fantasy of superheroes and science fiction, the threat of losing a trademark can have real-life consequences for an organization.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Get Legal Help Contact us today to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Baker & Associates
1875 Century Park East
Suite 1490
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310-904-6724
Fax: 310-553-2254
Los Angeles Law Office Map

building image
Back to Top