In the list of stuff that corporations do not like, muddying their registered trademarks is among the most heinous of crimes. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Apple regularly goes after companies that repurpose its trademarks for their own uses, and Google does not like its name being synonymous with search. No sir, not one bit!
In fact, Google hates it so much that when the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster officially classified it as a verb way back in 2006, the company put up a serious—but good-humoured—blog post reminding us all that it was not particularly thrilled about having received the honour. Here’s one of the examples it gave:
Usage: ‘Google’ as verb referring to searching for information via any conduit other than Google.
Example: “I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting.”
Our lawyers say: Bad. Very, very bad. You can only “Google” on the Google search engine. If you absolutely must use one of our competitors, please feel free to “search” on Yahoo or any other search engine.
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Guess what? Google is not the only company that has a problem with its name being turned into just another ordinary verb.
Why, Adobe would like you to know that it is poor form to say that “I photoshopped that image into perfection” or “that photoshop of Megan Fox was comically bad” (even more so when you find out that that is what she actually looks like now).
Behold, Adobe’s primer on the “proper use of the Photoshop trademark”:
Always capitalize and use trademarks in their correct form.
Correct: The image was enhanced with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements software.
Incorrect: The image was photoshopped.
Incorrect: The image was Photoshopped.
Incorrect: The image was Adobe® Photoshopped.
See what we mean?
While we are all for companies protecting their copyrights and trademarks—and care enough about them ourselves to write a whole guide about writing “Google+” properly—you have to excuse us for chuckling quietly to ourselves when they expect us to turn every mention of their name into something that was written by an attorney!