Yes, the Velcro Cos.’ legal team litigated for years and won a weeklong trial in federal court this month defending their brand. But a two-minute video that’s had nearly a half-million views on YouTube explains their patent protecting mission.
“Don’t say Velcro” gets the point across better than any legal brief—while making fun of same. “You call it Velcro, but we’re begging you. This is (bleeping) hook and loop,” lawyers sing in the short film.
The patent lawyer humor extends to Kleenex and Clorox and Band-Aid—brands that are so successful people begin using them the wrong way. Like as verbs or nouns instead of adjectives.
Here’s the long version of the explanation of the problem, taken from a news release for the Fish & Richardson lawyers, who tried the case for the Velcro Companies in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia:
Note to editors: “At Velcro Companies, we are proud that VELCRO® brand products have become a part of everyday life, but that ubiquity sometimes produces confusion. The VELCRO® trademark should be used only when referring to genuine VELCRO® brand fasteners. Non-VELCRO® brand products should be identified by their functional terms, such as ‘hook and loop,’ ‘self-adhesive straps,’ and so forth. The VELCRO® mark should always be used as an adjective and never as a noun or a verb. The term ‘Velcro Companies’ should be used when referring to our company and its executives.
“The proper use of the VELCRO® trademark assists us in safeguarding the integrity of the VELCRO® brand, and helps to protect consumers from products incorrectly sold as VELCRO® brand products. For further information on the proper use of the VELCRO® trademark, please see the guidelines on our website.”
For the short—and much funnier—version, just watch “Don’t say Velcro.”