I was just reading an article about Lego Mindstorm and then an interesting thought popped into my head, and that was if the name Lego was still copyrighted. Like Kleenex, Xerox, and even Photoshop, they almost lost their trademarks because people were using them as ‘nouns’ isntead of ‘adjectives’ and the companies were not doing anything to protect the trademark. But of course, after the notice, they notified everyone of the illegal usage and told them to comply with the copyright law.
Legos, Legos, Legos… What else do you call them? Apparently you’re supposed to call them Lego bricks. But either way, no one ever calls them bricks. You even call the imitation ones Legos. Maybe building blocks might work, but that’s stretching it.
According to Wikipedia, The Lego trademark:
The Lego Group’s name has become so synonymous with its flagship toy that many use the words “Lego” (collectively) or “Legos” to refer to the bricks themselves, and even to any plastic bricks resembling Lego bricks, although the Lego Group discourages this as dilution of their trademark. Lego catalogues in the 1970s and 1980s contained a note that read:
“The word LEGO® is a brand name and is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely like your help in keeping it special. Please always refer to our bricks as ‘LEGO Bricks or Toys’ and not ‘LEGOS.’ By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud and that stands for quality the world over. Thank you! Susan Williams, Consumer Services.”
A similar message also appeared to everyone who errantly visited http://legos.com in the year 2005, however it was removed within the next several months, but not before generating a media buzz of notable proportions.
“Lego” is officially written in all uppercase letters. The company asserts that to protect its brand name, the word Lego must always be used as an adjective, as in “LEGO set,” “LEGO products,” “LEGO universe,” and so forth. Nevertheless, such corporate admonitions are frequently ignored and the word lego is commonly used not only as a noun to refer to Lego bricks, but also as a generic term referring to any kind of interlocking toy brick.
I guess they still own the copyright to that word.