Losing a trademark challenge is bad news, right? It’s costly, it’s embarrassing, and it can damage a brand’s reputation.

And yet in one well-known instance, losing a trademark challenge didn’t hurt a brand at all. In fact, it ensured the brand’s immortality.

The product name I’m thinking of existed for just three years in the 1990s before the death-dealing trademark challenge. The company name survived in slightly altered form; the product name was replaced by a series of successor names.

Now, more than eleven years after that legal defeat, the original product name is still used, erroneously but ubiquitously, to describe an entire class of products—products that themselves exist mostly as fading memories.

What’s the product name?

I’ll give you one more hint: it’s a technology brand.

Answer after the jump.


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— Karen Brennan, Attorney

While browsing through a toy store recently, I noticed what appears to be a trend in branding this holiday season – reintroducing classic or “nostalgic” toys.   It is very hard for me to accept that the toys I played with as a child could be considered “nostalgic,” but upon

— Karen Brennan, Attorney

Mars recently introduced a new candy bar, Fling, marketed exclusively to women, advertised as “an un-regrettably indulgent new product for women”.  The website is predominantly pink and is littered with very stereo-typical one-liners meant to be sexy such as “you never know when you’ll want to have a Fling” and

— Karen Brennan, Attorney

Now that the Tour de France is over, it looks like the choices in evening television once again consist of several versions of the same reality show.  I can’t complain, the Tour was phenomenal this year and I enjoyed every minute I was able to watch (thank you DVR).

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