The Student Press Law Center frequently receives calls from student journalists and advisers who have questions about trademark law. Many confuse trademark with copyright law, which historically has much greater relevance to the student media. (See the Fall 1996 SPLC Report for more information about copyright law or check out the SPLC web site.)Trademark law protects the goodwill between a company and its customers, created by the customer’s recognition of the company. Usually that recognition is of the company’s name or the name of its products. But trademarks also protect other indications of the source of a product or service, such as designs, symbols, slogans, packaging or even a scent. The general limitations of trademark law prevent you from using someone’s trademark for a competitive purpose in a way that is going to create confusion among consumers. In essence, you cannot commercially profit from the recognition and goodwill that go along with the trademarks of another.Using trademarks in news stories, editorials, headlines or captions will almost never result in a serious legal problem for the student media. But trademark owners are extremely protective of how their marks are used in order to protect their legal interest when real infringements do occur. If a mark is used improperly, it can end up as the generic name of the product or service. Products such as aspirin, escalator, trampoline and dry ice were originally trademarks which, because of improper use became the generic terms for those products. Understanding the proper usage for trademarked names can help avoid letters of complaint from the owners of trademarks concerned about the value of their works.Trademark associations have four primary guidelines that they ask journalists to remember when using the trademarked names of products and services:Trademarks are proper adjectives, thus they should be capitalized and followed by a generic noun or phrase. For example, “Clorox bleach,” not just “clorox.”Trademarks should not be made into a plural. For example, “two Kleenex tissues,” not “two Kleenex.”Trademarks should not be used in the possessive form.Trademarks are never verbs.It is sometimes difficult to keep track of trademarked names, which now number over 4,000. To help you, we’ve listed a few of them here.AstroTurf synthetic turf Bac-Os imitation bacon bits Baggies plastic bag Band-Aid adhesive bandages Barbie dolls & accessories Boogie surfboards Breathalyzer alcoholic content measuring apparatus Chap Stick lip balm Chicken McNuggets breaded chicken nuggets Claymation animated motion picture services Coke soft drinks Colorization film conversion services Cool Whip dessert topping Crock-Pot electric cookers Cup-a-Soup instant soup mixes Dacron polyester fiber Day-Glo fluorescent paints Dixie paper cups Dumpster trash containers Dustbuster portable vacuums Erector building sets Exercycle stationary bicycles Fiberglas textiles, fibers, yarn, fabrics Formica laminated plastic Freon refrigerant Frisbee flying discs Fudgsicle fudge pops Heimlich Maneuver anti-choking educational services Hide-A-Bed sofas Hi-Liter highlighting markers Hula Hoop plastic hoops Jacuzzi whirlpool baths Jaws of Life rescue tools Kitty Litter cat box filler Kleenex tissues, napkins Laundromat self-service laundries Liquid Paper correction fluid Lite beer by Miller Little League baseball sports services Loafer shoes Lycra spandex fibers Mace self-defense spray Magic Marker felt tip pens Muzak background music systems Naugahyde plastic coated fabrics Nautilus weight lifting equipment Nerf foam toys Niblets canned corn Pampers disposable diapers Ping-Pong table tennis equipment Plexiglas acrylic plastic Post-it note pads, self stick notes Q-Tips cotton swabs & balls Realtor real estate broker, member of the National Association of Realtors Rollerblade in-line skates Rolodex rotary card files Scotch transparent tape Speedo swimwear StairMaster exercise equipment Stetson hats Tabasco pepper sauce Universal weight lifting equipment Uzi machine guns Vaseline petroleum jelly, lip balm Velcro hook & loop fasteners Walkman portable stereos by Sony Windbreaker clothing, jackets X-Acto knives Xerox photocopiers, copies, computer systemsFor more information, check out the International Trademark Association’s Internet web site, especially their media guide and listing of trademarked names, at http://www.inta.org. Or if you have a question about whether a particular word is a trademark call INTA’s Trademark Hotline at (212) 768-9886. The hotline is a free information service for the media.For more Information: For more information, check out the International Trademark Association’s Internet web site, especially their media guide and listing of trademarked names, at http://www.inta.org. Or if you have a question about whether a particular word is a trademark call INTA’s Trademark Hotline at (212) 768-9886. The hotline is a free information service for the media.