THE ADVOCATE 955
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
The Grammarian: advice to a confused profession from one who knows
about these things.
“Generification” is the use of specific brand names of products as names for
products in general. In many cases over the past century, the colloquial use
of a brand name as a generic term has led to the loss of a company’s exclusive
use of that brand name (known as “genericide”). For example, the common
nouns aspirin, yo-yo and trampoline were once legally protected
trademarks. A surprisingly large number of words have developed contentious
generic meanings, including Band-Aid, Escalator, Filofax, Frisbee,
Thermos, Tippex and Xerox. This is a problem for lexicographers. If it is
everyday usage to say, for instance, “My hoover is an Electrolux” and unless
you are an octogenarian Englishman, it isn’t – Ed., then the dictionary should
include the generic sense. The courts in the United States have often
upheld the right of the lexicographers to include such usages.
These words have gradually slipped from brand names to generic terms:
• Elevator and escalator were once trademarks of the Otis Elevator
• Zipper belonged to the B.F. Goodrich Company.
• Granola was a trademark registered by W.K. Kellogg in 1886.
• Ping pong was a trademark of the Parker Bros in 1901.
Tropical Law Advocates is a law firm in Kampala, Uganda.
The Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers leaks raised questions in 2016
and 2017 about law firm security measures, or the lack thereof.
Tourism Tahiti reports that “French Polynesia has passed several new laws
making it easier for foreign nationals to get married in our dream location”.
It adds: “all ceremonies are performed in French. If the couple isn’t fluent
in French, they can choose an interpreter to be present to translate all questions
in the ceremony.”
The Library of Congress contains 1,341 kilometers of bookshelves.
The Financial Times contained this fascinating report: “An office employee
accused of theft was caught on CCTV standing on a table to remove a ceiling
tile to hide a computer in the roof. The defendant claimed at Suffolk Crown
Court that she had merely been adhering to her company’s clear desk policy.”
Vancouver lawyer David Crerar and collaborators (including his teenage
son, Harry) recently published their book The Glorious Mountains of Vancou-