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Oscar Wilde said "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". So, we should be flattered that Amazon spent hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds buying clicks on Google for...icegripper. Perhaps the retail giant couldn't attract enough customers for it's winter traction products without using our name? 😉
It's not surprising though - since ICEGRIPPER started in 2009, it has become a byword for all sorts of winter traction products and it got us thinking - what else has become common parlance to describe a product?
HIT THE ROAD...
Asphalt (also known as bitumen) is a sticky, black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or may be a refined product. The primary use (70%) of asphalt is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. It's Generally referred to as Tarmac in the UK, Canada and elsewhere (despite actually being a different substance), mainly thanks to Tarmacadam, which was patented by British chemist Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1902. The UK-based company Tarmac continues to hold the trademark and also continues to enjoy the benefits of common parlance. For example an airport runway is usually referred to as "the tarmac".
GOT A HEADACHE - TAKE AN ASPIRIN...
Aspirin was a single product within a range of products owned by German pharmaceutical company Bayer. They registered the trademark and owned the 'brand' until 1919. That year the patent was revoked in several countries including the US, the UK and France, as part of Germany's World War I reparations. The word Aspirin was then adopted by many different companies and is now used on various products around the world. It has become common parlance for a cheap 'over the counter' painkiller (image courtesy of Bayer).
WHAT'S A TUMBLING DEVICE..?
Trampoline - a word that seems to have been with us forever, didn't exist until 1945. George Nissen a US Gymnast registered a trademark for “Trampoline,” on the back of his patented invention, which he labeled a “tumbling device". Realising that tumbling device wasn't catchy enough he came up with the word Trampoline for his new product. But the trademark was lost once the word became generic (image courtesy on US Patent Office).
What words do you use to refer to objects, which might be a brand or product name? It's fun to research where these come from and often reveals a rich and interesting history. Want to share your anecdotes and stories? Email us, or contact us through any of our social media sites, see the clickable links in the footer below.
Walk, work, run and play on winter ice and snow with ICEGRIPPER