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Velcro music video rips the world in defense of its trademark

Patent law has a reputation as being a rather muted area of practice. Those dedicated to it know that isn't true. It does have its quiet moments and the amount of detail to attention and paperwork it requires can be off-putting to some. But managing patents, trademarks and copyright processes is how new ideas begin to create value and that fosters innovation. There's nothing dull about that.

It is possible for a product and its brand to become so successful over time that it begins to become generic and the product risks the worst of all fates, genericide. Examples of this phenomena are easy to find. Aspirin, cellophane, linoleum and thermos were once trademark names for specific products and are now synonymous with a host of similar products. Some examples of marks that appear to be on the road to genericide include Kleenex, Dumpster and frisbee.

Once a trademark is granted, there are different ways that it can be protected against infringement. Most of them start with keeping eyes and ears peeled for any use of a mark without permission. In some cases, if a product is duplicated but a trademark remains, the focus must be on preventing genericide. And in this respect, we think many would agree Velcro gets props for creative methodology.

Last fall, the private New England-based company released a humorous video featuring singing lawyers. The cast, in highly produced style, took the world to task for applying the Velcro trademark to all hook-and-loop fastening fabrics out there. While the product patent is expired, the trademark remains. So the message was, "Don't Say Velcro."

That video went viral and sparked dialog on various social media outlets. Some of the comments weren't gracious, but the company considers it a successful tactic. Officials say it triggered a social media conversation that didn't exist before. And now users on different platforms are carrying on the Don't Say Velcro fight.

Velcro recently released a second music video in which the legal team features some comments received, including some of the more off-color ones, and expresses its thanks. The company says more videos will be coming.

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