Top 10 most litigious US companies from 2001-2006 (based on trademark cases): 1. Microsoft. 2. Cendent. 3. Altria/Philip Morris. 4. Best Western. 5. Dunkin' Donuts. 6. Lorillard Tobacco. 7. Levi Strauss. 8. Baskin-Robbins. 9. Chanel. 10. Nike. Found in the sidebar of this article on Levi Strauss suing other jeans companies for their triangle pockets.
kottke.org posts about trademarks
Speaking of brand genericide, Heroin was actually a brand name trademarked by the Bayer drug company. (thx chris, who joked, "Can I interest you in some Heroin brand morphine substitute?")
Brand genericide Jun 23 2006
Harris Interactive recently released a list of products ranked by brand equity, a measure of the brand's popularity with US consumers. Here's the top 10:
1. Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil
2. Ziploc Food Bags
3. Hershey's Milk Chocolate Candy Bars
4. Kleenex Facial Tissues
5. Clorox Bleach
6. WD-40 Spray Lubricant
7. Heinz Ketchup
8. Ziploc Containers
9. Windex Glass Cleaner
10. Campbell's Soups
Marketing can be a double-edged sword. The companies who manufacture these products have done a fantastic job in marketing these products, so fantastic in some cases that the brand name is in danger of becoming a genericized trademark. From the list above, I routinely use Ziploc, Kleenex, WD-40, and Windex to refer to the generic versions of those products, even though we sometimes use Glad products instead of Ziploc, Puffs instead of Kleenex, or another glass cleaner instead of Windex. If the companies on this list aren't careful, they could lose the trademarked products that they've worked so hard to market so successfully.
Here's a list of American proprietary eponyms, or brand names that have fallen into general use. Some of the names on the list are so old or in such common use (escalator, popsicle) that I didn't even know they had been brands. Two current brands I can think of that might be in danger of genericide: iPod and Google. (via rw)
Using information from the USPTO to track Aug 04 2005
Using information from the USPTO to track how logo design in the US has changed over time. "Using this database, innovations and trends in the design of trademarks can be tracked and dissected. For example, the rise of the swoosh element, concentrated among internet and telecommunications firms in particular, can be seen developing in the mid-1990s."