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27 Trademarked Names That Have Become Commonly Used Terms

Sometimes a trademarked name is just the best way to describe a product. Here are some product names that are, or were, trademarked.

Construction worker holding gypsum boardfotogenicstudio/Shutterstock

Sheetrock

Sheetrock and drywall get used pretty interchangeably, but it’s important to note that Sheetrock is a trademarked name owned by the United States Gypsum Corporation. Make sure you know both terms for the next job and make sure you do the job right by avoiding these 7 common drywall mistakes.

roll of bubble wrapcharnsitr/Shutterstock

Bubble Wrap ®

Bubble Wrap® started in 1957 and its inventors intended to use it as wallpaper. The name, however, is trademarked. The product is also referred to as cushioning or packing material. Bubble Wrap® remains one of the most versatile products out there and its uses will surprise you. Here are 50 ways to use Bubble Wrap® around the house you never thought of.

city trash cansrobbin lee/Shutterstock

Dumpster

Dumpster, believe it or not, used to be a trademarked term that dates back to 1936 when the Dempster Brothers developed a system of loading garbage containers onto garbage trucks. They called it a Dumpster as a way to blend the name of the company and the front-end loading device for dumping garbage. 

Contractor drilling wall for styrofoam insulation sheets holder.Radovan1/Shutterstock

Styrofoam

Styrofoam is a trademarked name owned by The Dow Chemical Company after it discovered a way to make foamed polystyrene in 1947. These days, Styrofoam products can be found almost everywhere, like with foundation insulation panels. But it does tend to have a long shelf life, which is great for homeowners but bad for the environment.

Weed EaterRyan Kelm/Shutterstock

Weed eater, Weedwacker, Weed Wacker

The generic term we use, and several others, is string trimmer—doesn’t exactly fit the bill. Who needs to trim string around the house? But the generic term for the device better known as a Weedwacker, Weed Eater, or Weed Wacker, seems the best we can do since so many related names are trademarked. Husqvarna holds the Weed Eater trademark. Stanley Black & Decker holds the Weedwacker trademark, which might seem like an asset for the company right now. Weed Wacker, note the space, is owned by Environmental Essentials, LLC. The trademark details on Justia.com says Weed Wacker is to be used for odor neutralizing purposes on various surfaces. Kind of muddies the waters a little more. These are the 40 best lawn care products you need this spring.

Rolls of black velcro tape isolated on white backgroundChittiphatra Chanchuang/Shutterstock

Velcro

Velcro is one of those products where trying to describe it in other terms doesn’t work easily even though it’s trademarked. A rose by another name, right? The trademark owner, Velcro Industries BV, asks that its products be called Velcro hook and loop fasteners or Velcro fabric fastening products. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Velcro products are great in the house to secure things, even in the kitchen. Here are 5 quick kitchen spice storage solutions using Velcro.

A band-aid is on shoulder of a woman after had influenza vaccine. Health care concept. Prevent influenza.Chanita Chokchaikul/Shutterstock

Band-Aid

Johnson & Johnson owns the trademark to the name kids have cried out for since it was created in 1920. Johnson & Johnson continues to fight that the term hasn’t become generic because once it does, the company will no longer control the trademark for the adhesive bandage.

Young man professional jet ski rider performs many tricks on the waves.bondvit/Shutterstock

Jet Ski

Kawasaki owns the trademark to Jet Ski, but it’s hard to say who has used the generic term “stand-up personal watercraft” outside of a law office. Find out the company names that have secret meanings.

Closeup of hobby knife cutting paperJeff Wilson/Shutterstock

X-Acto

The X-Acto knife is better known as a utility knife around here, though people continue to use X-Acto knife as a generic term. It, however, is a trademark term that is owned by Elmer’s Products, Inc. Yes, the glue people own the X-Acto trademark, which is often used to undo the work of glue—kind of a symbiotic relationship in a way. What’s more interesting about the X-Acto knife is that it was intended to be used as a scalpel but it couldn’t be cleaned, thus it became a hobby kit tool. Here are 100 creative uses for common household items.

Concrete spa or whirlpoolJames R. Martin/Shutterstock

Jacuzzi

Jacuzzi is actually a corporation that manufactures whirlpool bathtubs and hot tubs. The company has held the trademark since it registered it back in 1978. Jacuzzi Brands has roots in the aircraft industry. In the 1920s the company built airplane propellers, which likely helped with the design of the jets found in Jacuzzi whirlpool baths.

Vacuum cleaner for cleaning large. High power Machine for industry, floor buffing machine,Alena TS/Shutterstock

Shop-Vac

Shop-Vac is the trademark name for a vacuum you can use in your shop. The Shop-Vac Corporation owns the trademark, though many people refer to their shop vacuum as a “shop-vac” without thinking twice about it. Control the dust kicked up in a shop by knowing how to collect it all in a shop vacuum.

repairing walliamPOJ/Shutterstock

Spackle

Spackle is a trademark term for the surfacing compound used to fill holes. Though few people likely say surfacing compound when they need to fill a hole in drywall. Spackle has been around since 1927. Here are 10 tips for patching drywall.

Black and White of Crumpled Spandex Soft Fabric Surface Texture BackgroundSPK Lifestyle Stock Photo/Shutterstock

Lycra

Lycra is a trademark of INVISTA, which is owned by Koch Industries. Lycra gets used just as much as the generic term, spandex, since Lycra is spandex fiber. Check out the origins of these famous company names.

Closeup view of a tube of glue on peper.RATT_ANARACH/Shutterstock

Super Glue

Super Glue is a cyanoacrylate adhesive, which you’ve probably seen a time or two on our site. Unless you’re a chemist, it’s not a term that is on the front of your mind when you’re looking for a super strong adhesive in the hardware store. “Super Glue” is now generic but Super Glue Corporation/Pacer Technology holds the trademark to “The Original Super Glue” and you can bet they plan to make sure it sticks there like its product. Should you find yourself stuck to some cyanoacrylate adhesive, we can get you out of it quicker than you can say cyanoacrylate adhesive properly. Here are 33 creative ways to remove Super Glue.

Linoleum flooring installationStockphotoVideo/Shutterstock

Linoleum

Linoleum is an interesting name in the trademark world. It never actually got trademarked by its inventor Frederick Walton when he began the Linoleum Manufacturing Company Ltd in 1864. He tried a decade later as competitors hit the market but couldn’t do it since the term became generalized by that time. Linoleum probably isn’t in for flooring trends this year. Here are 13 kitchen trends on the way out.

Grass football fieldNATHAKRIT/Shutterstock

AstroTurf

Monsanto still holds the trademark on AstroTurf, though the use of AstroTurf has faded in the last 20 years. Synthetic turf can also make for a pretty neat backyard where you can practice your short game. Here are 19 cool backyard putting greens.

brown wire nut on a white backgroundblitzstock/Shutterstock

Wire-Nut

Wire-Nut is a trademark of IDEAL Industries Inc for a product that’s generally referred to as an electrical connector or twist-on wire connectors. IDEAL filed for the trademark back in 1959.

Cellophane packaging tape on deskBillion Photos/Shutterstock

Cellophane

Cellophane, that piece of plastic that prevents you from inhaling Girl Scout cookies, began as a trademark name, besides being a general hindrance to enjoy deliciousness immediately. The history of its use in candy packaging dates back to 1912 when Whitman’s candy company started using it.

curved jaw locking pliers isolated on white backgroundOleksandr Chub/Shutterstock

Vise-Grip

Locking pliers, known as a Vise-Grip, were invented by William Petersen in Nebraska back in 1924. Eventually, Petersen formed Petersen Manufacturing, which registered the trademark. Petersen Manufacturing later became American Tool Companies and bought IRWIN Tool Company. Newell Brands bought American Tool in 2002 and changed the name to IRWIN Industrial Tool Company. In 2008, the original Vise-Grip plant in DeWitt, Nebraska closed. More than 330 people in the town of 572 lost their jobs when the parent company moved production to China. The town received good news last year when Malco Products, a company that specializes in making tools to construct HVAC systems, planned on hiring 20 people to work in the former plant.

Black kerosene heater in a white background compositionLuca Rossatti/Shutterstock

Kerosene

Abraham Gesner trademarked Kerosene in 1854 but it became a generic term over the years. Gesner heated coal and distilled a clear liquid from it that he named Kerosene. For a number of years, only the North American Gas Light Company and the Downer Company were allowed to call their lamp oil Kerosene. Kerosene remains pretty useful whether heating a garage or blowing up a tree stump. Find out the famous company names you’re pronouncing incorrectly.

Black leather bag with silver zipper. Close-up of black leather.Voskanian Valeriia/Shutterstock

Zipper

When something as successful as the zipper gets invented it’s hard to prevent it from becoming a generic term. Zipper became a trademark name back in 1925 but by 1930 B.F. Goodrich and inventor Gideon Sundback could no longer claim a trademark on zipper since its prevalence had become ubiquitous.

black plastic stun gun with flashlight , closeupvitec/Shutterstock

Taser

Taser is actually a trademark for a stun gun and Taser International would like people to avoid using the word because it means it could lose the trademark on it.

Trampoline for fitness exercisespiotr szczepanek/Shutterstock

Trampoline

Trampoline held a trademark before becoming a generic term, though it’s not clear when either happened. What is known is that the trampoline was created in 1936 by George Nissen and Larry Griswold. The name comes from the Spanish word for diving board, “trampolin,” and was referred to as a rebound tumbler in generic terms. Trampolines are great for gymnastics and have been used for a variety of training exercises like with astronauts but they can be a backyard nuisance.

Plumber putting a teflon joint on a thread, closeupthodonal88/Shutterstock

Teflon

Teflon is known for its ability to prevent things from sticking to pans. Teflon is a trademark term owned by the Chemours Company, which used to be part of DuPont. Teflon became a registered trademark in 1945. Teflon’s use has expanded to several areas, including plumbing. Find out how Teflon is used in plumbing.

Tear gas or pepper spray for personal safety and defense.Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock

Mace

Mace hasn’t entirely replaced the generic term pepper spray, but it is the trademark name of the product made by Mace Security International.

Chain-wire fence. Fence made of steel wire mesh. In places, the rusted wire mesh steel with shabby paintMcGraw/Shutterstock

Cyclone

An early name for a chain-link fence used to be a Cyclone fence. The Cyclone Fence Company held a trademark for the type of fencing beginning in 1925. The trademark expired only in 2006.

Litter tray and scoop for cat on floor, top view. Pet careNew Africa/Shutterstock

Kitty Litter

The story of the brand Kitty Litter is a fascinating one, that begins with Ed Lowe selling clay to a friend for her cat box. Kitty Litter became a generic term eventually despite Lee fighting for the trademark. By the time Lowe died, the company he started was worth $500 million. Next, check out these 36 hidden messages you see in company logos all the time.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman