“To Tivo” is Bad?

I don’t understand why Tivo would protest this, other than to generate publicity for themselves which, might very well be the point. Seems that to become part of the language is a great thing for branding … see Kleenex for Tissues and Coke for cola as examples.

However, the company has recently stepped up efforts to police just how its trademark is used in a sentence. Using TiVo as a verb, for instance – as in “to TiVo” or “I TiVoed ‘The Apprentice’ last night” – is forbidden.

The company has begun sending letters to news organizations whenever it sees the term misused. “We’ve gotten more aggressive,” said Kathryn Kelly, a TiVo spokeswoman. “It’s a much more talked-about subject now.”

Running a close second among uses the company frowns on is “TiVo-like.”

“We do aggressively protect our trademark,” Ms. Kelly said, adding that with competing digital video recorders entering the market, TiVo wants to keep its name from going the way of Xerox or Kleenex. [New York Times]

3 Replies to ““To Tivo” is Bad?”

  1. This seems such a strange move on Tivo’s part, however perhaps a smart one. You could say that with Kleenex and Xerox that they’ve become so synonymous with their product that they are undistinguishable, which at the start was probably fantastic. However, as the market matured, consumers just asked for a Kleenex and didn’t actually care what facial tissue they received so using the term Kleenex didn’t help the Kleenex bottom line at all.

    On the flip side, saying I ‘googled’ someone only helps Google out more and more because it’s a free service that is driven by eyeballs and there is only really one way to ‘google’ someone. You could say the same problem exists for them as well, but probably not as much and not in the short term.

    On the flip side, saying I ‘googled’ someone only helps Google out more and more because it’s a free service that is driven by eyeballs and there is only really one way to ‘google’ someone. You could say the same problem exists for them as well, but probably not as much and not in the short term.

  2. It’s a legal issue. If your trademark becomes part of the popular vernacular in certain forms and you don’t actively defend it, you risk losing your exclusive rights to that trademark. Google actually has fought corporate use of “Google” as a verb as a result of the same fear.

  3. Good points…

    I had not considered the possible loss by not fighting it legally. You’d think though that as the company, they would have some eminant domain over their name and could protect it that way. You certainly don’t want to lose rights over a trademark.

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