Since when I can remember, certain brand names have represented all other similar commodities. This kind of name recognition and eventual generalization is what most manufacturers would want with their product, but it requires many years, lots of luck and early entry advantage.
Everywhere you go around this country, OMO is the general term for all detergents, despite it being a trademarked name owned by Unilever.
To a lesser extent, Jik also means a household bleach while Blueband stands for every margarine.
You may be surprised that there are many more generalized trademark names than you imagined. Some of these have been accepted world wide.
I’m sure this is surprising to many people. The correct name is Vacuum flask, but Thermos has come to be accepted as a general term.
This is despite the fact that ThermosⓇ is a trademarked name. Thermos L.L.C is a UK company that has been making Vacuum flasks since 1904 and probably that explains why every Vacuum flask today is referred to as Thermos, even when it’s not Thermos.
The proper name is Ballpoint pen, but most of the world outside the US refer to it as a Biro. It’s inventor, Laszlo Biro patented the invention in 1938. Marcel Bich bought the patent in 1950, making it the main product of his Bic company.
Today, the company’s intellectual department keeps a close eye on the media to see how their trademark name is used. They are known to write to publications who fail to capitalize the ‘B’.
If Biro did not surprise you, this one sure will.
Ask any Kenyan on the street and they don’t know any other name for it. The correct terms are adhesive tape or sticky tape or just tape.
Sellotape is the leading brand of adhesive tape in the UK. It has become so generalized that it’s now in the Oxford Dictionary.
Closely related to Sellotape is Super Glue®.
It is owned by US company Super Glue Corporation, but today it’s not uncommon to find other Cyanoacrylate adhesive (Yes, that’s the generic name) branded ‘Super Glue’.
Looking at the proper term, it’s easy to see why ‘Super Glue’ was an easier sell.
This one is special. There is really no other generic name. That’s because the inventors, Otis Elevator Company, coined the name and trademarked it immediately.
However, it lost its proprietary status and its capital “e” in 1950 when the U.S. Patent Office ruled that the word “escalator” had become just a common descriptive term for moving stairways.”
Well, you guessed it. The most despised tool on our roads is also a trademark name.
AlcoBlow® is a product of US company CMI, Inc.
Breath Alcohol testers is a more appropriate generic term, but the rest of the world has generalized ‘Breathalyzer’, which is funny enough also another trademarked brand name.