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Xerox Ad Pretends We Care About Its Trademark Rights to Term 'Xerox'

What do you care more about: Xerox's trademark rights to the term "xerox" or the lives of individual mosquitoes?

Eric Johnson has a great post on the PrawfsBlawg tied to a concept in Larry Lessig's new book, Remix. Analyzing Lessig's take on the differences between commercial economies and sharing economies, Johnson summarizes that "friends do favors for one another in a sharing economy, and corporations and customers use cash as the medium of exchange in a commercial economy." Thus, it would be odd for a friend who missed a lunch date with you to offer you $50 to make it up to you, and also odd for, say, McDonald's to ask you to "help out" by promising to buy its hamburgers at least once a month. 

This concept is the lead-in to Johnson's rant on Xerox's ad in the current issue of the ABA Journal:

Xerox_please_help_us

Taking the words right out of my mouth, Johnson says, "Dude, I'm sorry, but what the #@!& do I care if Xerox loses its trademark registration to 'xerox'? Wow. I've got other stuff to care about. Like the lives of individual mosquitoes." 

Johnson acknowledges that courts will consider educational advertising when determining if a trademark has been lost, but adds that 

it is one thing to tell people that this way or that way is the right way or wrong way to use a word. But it is quite another thing to attempt to appeal to people's sense of right and wrong and ask them to altruistically "please help" a publicly traded corporation in its self-serving pursuit...I'm going to go downstairs and xerox something on the Canon photocopier right now just to do it.

Xerox, I, too, have given the matter much thought and have decided to carry on with my life and not help out. Sorry!

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 30, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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