brand glossary: genericide

The process by which a trademark loses its ability to function as a differentiating source identifier and becomes the common descriptive term for that particular type/category of product or service. When consumers use the mark or brand name as a general term that describes any product or service, regardless of the source, and so the trademark loses its distinctiveness. A trademark deemed generic loses its protected status because it ceases to perform the function that justified its protection, meaning competitors can use the name to describe their offering(s). This is particularly common for new, innovative and/or highly successful products for which there is no pre-existing generic term, or for which one was not protected.

See also: Naming, Brand Name, Name, Trademarks