ThumbDrive maker finally wins trademark
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has ruled that "thumb drive" is not a generic term--meaning ThumbDrive™ is worthy of trademark protection.By Paul Mcnamara
Dec 22, 2010 6:41 pmNetworkWorld
You could have knocked me over with a memory stick when word arrived here recently that the government's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has ruled that "thumb drive" is not a generic term and therefore ThumbDrive™ is worthy of trademark protection.
This decree – a reversal of multiple previous decisions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office -- may also come as news to writers and editors at PCWorld, CNET, PCMag.com, ZDNet, LifeHacker, Wired and Engadget, all of whom have abused their "thumb drives" in just the past two weeks, according to my casual check.
Trek 2000 International, the proud trademark holder, began selling ThumbDrives in 2000 and applied for a trademark in 2007, which was initially then repeatedly refused because the trademark office ruled the term "thumb drive" to be generic. The company's law firm says in its triumphant press release: "Fearing that its highly-valuable ThumbDrive™ trademark would go the way of other unique and famous marks that became generic and lost all their value – such as aspirin, e-mail, zipper and escalator – Trek engaged in a lengthy legal battle to avoid this fate." … And prevailed on Nov. 30.