Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Velcro® makes a music video about why you shouldn't say "velcro"

Intellectual property law is complicated.  I can't tell you how many people I've seen spend hours arguing a point about copyright, but who aren't willing to spend the five minutes it takes to learn the basic differences between copyright and trademark. An almost certainly apocryphal rumor holds that there is some employee at Xerox (or Kleenex, or Q-Tips) whose sole function is to search for uses of the brand name as a general term for the product, and send a cease-and-desist letter.  This is because, to maintain a trademark, trademarks must be distinct.  This is why I can't start a laptop manufacturer called "Laptops" and sue everyone.  However, if a term so lapses into general usage, it runs the risk of no longer being distinct enough to be a legal trademark, which leads to often over-zealous protection of trademarks.  To this end, Velcro®  produced a parody(?) music video admonishing the public to not say "velcro" unless they mean "velcro®."

Personally, I take solace in knowing that at some future date a music video of actors pretending to be lawyers singing about IP law may be played in an actual court of law.  God bless America.


  1. I think this ship has sailed for Velcro. If I say to someone "I want to get hook-and-loop shoes" they won't know what I'm talking about.

  2. Further, I don't have a lot of incentive to help protect Velcro's trademark. Why should I care?

    1. You shouldn't, and I don't think Velcro expects you to. I think making this video is a way to demonstrate an attempt to protect trademark, should their trademark ever come into dispute. I just thought that Velcro making a music video to educate the public on the application of IP law was bizarre enough to be worth mentioning.

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