You know that little icon ® ?
Registered trademark. Means others cannot use it – or there’s only limited usage.
I understand why. I understand why it’s important in many cases. But sometimes? Absurd? Arrogant? Just plan silly?
Check out Phrase-hoarding. Geoffrey K. Pullum, in “Language Log” asks: “What do the following phrases or sayings have in common?” The answer: registered trademarks. Yes. The phrases below are trademarked by various colleges and universities.
- first-year experience
- fast-track MBA
- touched by a nurse
- imagination beyond measure
- tomorrow starts here
- we’re conquering cancer
How can this possibly be true? I mean really…. How many of us have ever used the word “fast-track” and put it in front of another word? How many of us have used the phrase “we’re conquering…” poverty, malaria, HIV/AIDs… But oh my gosh, don’t say “cancer,” because you could be sued.
Have you ever seen examples like this – in the nonprofit sector? in the field of fundraising? Once, someone actually suggested to me that I trademark “keep your donors.” Really? Who hasn’t ever used that phrase?
P.S. Thanks to Charles Green for the Language Log tip. Check out Green’s Trusted Advisor e-news.