Brand Name Takeover

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Carnie: Mary, Mother of God! I cut my hand on a rubber band! Do you sell Band-Aids?
Randal: "Band-Aid" is a brand name! The proper term is "adhesive strips".
Dante: The man is bleeding to death and you're getting into a semantics argument?
Randal: Man! Name-brand word association is one of the more subtle threats to this nation's free trade! It gives the larger, well-known companies an unfair advantage. I'm doing my part to keep the playing field level by weaning people off of referring to generic products with brand names!
Dante: Way to show some backbone.
Randal: No spine of Jell-O here, my friend.


A Brand Name Takeover occurs whenever a Trademark or brand name has become the colloquial or generic description for a specific type of product, rather than just the specific product created by the original trademark holder. This typically happens when the product in question has become so dominant in the market that the brand is the first thing people think about when they think of the type of product the brand represents. Additionally, if you look at the lists below, it is most common in instances where the trademarked product is the first of its kind - thus (especially if it was also patented thus meaning the new product was the only one of its kind) it often was the only name the public knew for this new widget. Famous examples include the Thermos, the Escalator and Elevator, the Breathalyzer, and Shredded Wheat.

This phenomenon tends to annoy the companies that hold the trademarks, because unless the company works sufficiently to prevent such broad use of its trademark, its intellectual property rights to the trademark may be lost, as the mark cannot do its job of identifying the specific product anymore. For example, "cellophane" was originally a trademark owned by the Du Pont Corporation; its widespread use as a generic name for any sort of plastic food wrap, regardless of the actual brand, caused Du Pont to lose the trademark, so now anyone can call their plastic wrap "cellophane". In other words, Randal's assessment of the situation in the page quote is incorrect—the largest companies are at a disadvantage as compared to their competition. Naturally, most companies rather strenuously object to this happening, leading to situations where they are Stuck on Band-Aid Brand in an attempt to stop it.

Note that some of the examples below only count in certain parts of the world, in others it may be called by its actual non-branded designation, or by a different Brand Name Takeover name.

So common you've probably Seen It a Million Times. Believe it or not, this trope is Older Than Radio. Known as a "genericized trademark" on The Other Wiki. Generally called the "Kleenex Effect" in (nicely self-demonstrating) marketing jargon. See also I Am Not Shazam.

Examples of Brand Name Takeover include:

A - F

  • Accutane (Isotretinoin, an acne medication)
  • Accucheck (blood glucose monitor): The first brand of home blood glucose monitors for diabetics. Now there are monitors produced by other manufacturers, but regardless of the brand used in a particular hospital, that hospital's doctors will write orders to test the patient's "accucheck".
  • Adidas (shoes): all running shoes, in Poland and Romania
  • AFL (Australian Rules Football): Deriving from the dominant club league of the sport, the Australian Football League (AFL). People pretty much only ever either call it "AFL" or "Aussie Rules". In the U.S., it's pretty much "Aussie Rules", as "AFL" tends to mean "Arena League" (an indoor variant of American Football) and occasionally the old American Football League (which was the NFL's rival during the 60s before it merged with it, becoming the AFC)
  • Airstream (streamlined aluminum travel trailer)
  • Aleve (naproxen sodium, a NSAID painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug)
  • Ant Farm (a formicarium): Became the topic of a Dilbert strip when Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, received letters from "Uncle Milton's", the company that owns the trademark. He had to print a retraction and apology.

Dilbert: So, what do you call a habitat for worthless and disgusting little creatures?
Dogbert: Law school.

  • Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid); the Bayer company lost the trademark in most Allied nations shortly after World War I as part of war reparations, but holds it in Germany, Canada and Mexico, among others.
  • Astroturf (artificial turf).
  • Auto-Tune (pitch correction software): mostly in reference to its use as a distortion style.
  • Band-Aid (adhesive bandages): despite all the best efforts of the Johnson & Johnson people.
  • Bell System (telephone company, often referred to as "Ma Bell") is a bit more complicated; it was split into the various Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC's) so arch-rivals Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) and Southwestern Bell (SBC Communications, the "new" AT&T) both have a claim on the name and heritage... but the name is not generic.
  • Bic (disposable lighters, pens or safety razors, depending on context)
  • Biro (ball-point pens): in Britain among others
  • Bostitch (stapler): Switzerland
    • In the rest of the world: a song by the swiss electronic duo Yello (a yelled hello, if you're wondering).
  • Blu-Tack (pressure-sensitive adhesive putty): in Britain and Australia
    • The same stuff is referred to as Fun-Tak™ in at least parts of the US.
  • Brahma (beer): in Brazil
  • Breathalyzer (A device used to measure blood alcohol content by analyzing exhaled breath): Originally trademarked by Smith & Wesson, now owned by National Draeger. Most people aren't even aware that this is actually a brand name.
  • Bubble Wrap (inflated cushioning)
  • Bubbler (drinking fountain)
  • Camelbak (A large water container worn on the back, with a straw coming out that can be reached by the mouth): Popular with cyclists and others who engage in strenuous outdoors exercise in desert climates. The ripoff versions are almost universally called "camel backs", not helped by the lack of any other even vaguely non-awkward term.
  • Cappy (orange juice): in Austria
  • Cellophane (plastic food wrap)
  • Cheerios (General Mills) and Rice Krispies (Kellogg's) are still under trademark protection in the U.S., but Frosted Flakes are not.
    • For that matter, any generic cereal will be known as its more popular counterpart, like referring to "Marshmallows n Stars" as "Lucky Charms".
    • Also, Raisin Bran (wheat flakes with raisins)
  • ChapStick (lip balm)
    • When it's in stick form anyway. If it's squeezed out of a tube like toothpaste, it's more likely to be called just lip balm.
    • Carmex, another brand of lip balm.
  • Chiclets (any sort of gum) in Brazil; in the rest of Latin America gum is "chicle", from the tree from which early forms of chewing gum were made (nowadays it's usually a synthetic).
  • Chupa Chups (lollipop) in Italy, Romania, Latin America and Russia.
  • Chyron (video title/text generator) In video, generates the "lower thirds" on broadcast programming; these are usually text identifying info such as the speaker's name and location on a news programme (so perhaps "Nigger Innis" if someone has fat fingers typing today, or "Bush: One of the worst disasters to hit the US" to describe Hurricane Katrina).
  • Cirque (contemporary circus): Zig-zagging in that this isn't an actual brand name, but is treated as such. Because Cirque Du Soleil popularized contemporary circus in North America, it has become common to refer to that genre as "cirque", which is actually the French word for "circus" (CDS originated in Montreal). Mockbuster troupes such as Cirque Productions that have no reason to use the French word in their names except to confuse audiences sprung up. CDS got fed up and tried suing that particular company for using it; they lost, due to the word being common and thus unable to be trademarked.
  • Claymation (clay-based stop-motion animation, or stop-motion in general): a trademark of Will Vinton Productions
  • CliffsNotes (student study guides): If someone is mentioning a study guide for a novel, they'll say "CliffsNotes" or erroneously "Cliff Notes".
    • Or SparkNotes
    • Or Monarch Notes
  • Clorox (bleach): in the United States. For Canadians, it's Javex.
    • In some areas of the United States, Hi-Lex (bleach) is used instead.
    • In parts of Brazil, Q-Boa (bleach).
  • Coke, a trademark of Coca-Cola which has come to refer to any brand of cola.
    • In some parts of the American South, the use of the word "coke" has spread to mean any sort of soda, not just the cola flavors. As in "What kind of coke you got?" "Orange, grape, coca cola, pepsi, root beer."
    • Very rarely is the pedestrian definition of "coke" used: The purified form of bituminous coal used for fuel. Steelmakers would know "coking coal", which is almost pure carbon, for use in making carbon steel alloy.
    • Historically, the Coca-Cola Company had tried to own the word "cola", suing a long list of imitators including an "Afri-Cola". These suits ended when a "Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi-Cola" was thrown out of Food Court on the grounds that "cola" was now the generic term for a specific "fantasia flavour" of carbonated soda pop created from a mix of cinnamon, vanilla and citrus.
  • Corn Flakes: Used to be a trademark of the Kellogg corporation.
  • Crayola (crayons), and Cray-Pas (oil pastels)
  • Crock-Pot (slow cookers)
  • Cup Noodles (Noodles packaged in a disposable cup): trademark of Nissin. Also known as Maruchan (the company that owns "Ramen" below), because the brand is much more prominent than the product name on the packaging.
  • DayGlo (daylight fluorescent pigments)
  • Demerol (Meperadine opioid pain relievers)
  • Discman/Walkman (portable CD/cassette players)
  • Disk On Key (USB flash drive): in Israel
    • Also, Jump Drive
  • Dixie cups (disposable small paper cups)
  • Doliprane (paracetamol, a pain reliever): in France
  • Dry Ice (solid carbon dioxide): Trademarked by the Dry Ice Corporation of America in the 1920s, but no longer active
  • Duck Tape or Duct Tape (water resistant tape): The latter is the more common name but still trademarked in various countries.
  • Dumpster (industrial-sized garbage bins)

Bart: You're living in a dumpster?
Otto: Ho, man, I wish. Dumpster brand trash bins are top-of-the-line. This is just a Trash-Co waste disposal unit.

  • Edding (permanent marker, in Germany)
  • Elastoplast (bandages or "plasters"): in the UK
  • Escalator (moving staircases)
    • To the point that it can no longer be trademarked and hasn't been for quite some time.
  • Esky (portable insulated ice chests)
  • Fanta (orange flavored soft drink): in Germany
    • For any kind of soft drink, in Ghana. Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, it's all "Fanta" in Ghana.
  • Frisbee (flying disks)

Spongebob: Hey, look what I've got! Small plastic disc that you throw!
Patrick: Oh boy! I love playing small plastic disc that you throw! If only it had a simpler name..
Spongebob: I know! Small plastic disc... that you TOSS!

      • Played straight in the episode "Ripped Pants", where the word Frisbee is explicitly used.
    • And of course, in The Simpsons:

Jimbo: Hey, look what I found! A novelty flying disk!
Bart: Hey, that's our novelty flying disk!

  • Fiberglass (fiber-reinforced plastic): Though the registered trademark is FIBERGLAS, held by Owens-Corning.

G - M

  • Gem clips (paper clips)
  • Gilette (razor blade): in Brazil
  • Google (search engines)
    • More commonly used as a verb meaning to use a search engine.
    • It is worth noting, however, that many companies (Yahoo, etc) use the Google engine for their search purposes.
    • Fun fact: The major German dictionary Duden had to change the meaning of the verb google from "searching the web" to "searching the web with Google" in the next edition, actual usage be damned.
  • Hacky Sack (footbag)
  • Some people will refer to any kind of electric organ as a "Hammond".
  • Handy, the German word for mobile/cell phone (I kid you not), is rumoured to have its roots in a very early cell phone model by Motorola which was called "Handy".
    • Similar: The Motorola trademark Handie-Talkie (1951) for their brand of handheld transceiver became the generic ham radio term "HT" meaning any handheld transceiver.
  • Heroin "the sedative for coughs" (Diamorphine - another ex-Bayer trademark)
  • Hodgkins (stapler): In Japan, they sold the first stapler. Now all staplers are called Hodgkins (Hocchikisu).
  • Hoover (vacuum cleaners): in Britain
    • Then again, nothing sucks like an Electrolux, used for 'vacuum' in Poland ('elektroluks') and formerly in English-speaking countries as well
  • Hot Wheels / Matchbox (toy racing cars, specifically "1:64" scale models of real cars); Both are registered to Mattel.
    • Unless you were in the UK before Mattel acquired Matchbox in the mid-90s, when Matchbox was far more commonly used, along with Corgi.
  • Hula Hoop (plastic hoop)
  • IBM (personal computer): Not ubiquitous, but quite commonly used in early 90s Poland. Not so much today. Everyone else used "PC", which persists until today, and is an example itself.
    • Among old-time computer professionals, the IBM 360/370 architecture was so ubiquitous in the business computing world that rival companies' clones of the 360/370 were still called "IBM mainframes."
  • Sapporo Ichiban was one of the first brands of instant ramen imported into Canada, and many Canadians refer to the dish as "ichiban", regardless of the actual brand. The word itself is Japanese for "number one".
  • Imodium (loperamide based anti-diarrheal drugs)
  • iPod (digital music player)
    • Considering how many different types of iPods there are, few people will refer to the subtypes as anything but iPods. Also, who remembers the CamelCase?
    • Less prominently, iPhone for smartphones.
  • Jacuzzi (whirlpool baths/hot tubs)
    • The Jacuzzi company also makes other bathroom fixtures, including sinks and toilets.
  • Jeep (off-road vehicles)
    • Jeep could be considered an inversion. The original jeep was a term for a category of vehicle (not brand or manufacturer specific) in WWII, although the origin of the term is disputed.
    • In a similar vein, duck tape is a possible case; it's unclear if the stuff's name originated as "duct tape" or "duck tape", though it definitely shouldn't be used in the capacity the former suggests.
      • Small waterfowl of the family anatidae would probably appreciate it not being used in the latter as well.
  • Jell-O (gelatin dessert)
    • In Australia, New Zealand and the UK, this stuff is never called jell-o. It's called jelly, which has never been trademarked; it's more of a general term for flavoured, sweetened gelatine (like calling a sandwich a "sarnie" or a "sanger").
  • Jet Ski (stand up personal water craft)
  • JumboTron (giant television screen found in sports stadiums)
  • Junket (sweet curd[1])
  • Kerosene (paraffin heating oil)
  • Keso (cottage cheese): Based on a Swedish brand name. Because there is no other Swedish term for cottage cheese, the company behind Keso have started subtitling the product with "cottage cheese" written in phonetics.
  • Kleenex (facial tissue)
    • Tempo in Germany is another Brand Name Takeover.
  • Kodak (photographs): Hasn't been an issue in quite some time but it was in the early 20th century.
    • They were still sensitive about it at least into the '70s: any album with Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" carries the disclaimer "Kodachrome is a registered trademark for color film."
  • Kool-Aid (non-carbonated soft drinks)
    • To the point that the cyanide-laced drinks in the Jonestown mass "suicide" is referred to as Kool-Aid (leading to the term "drinking the Kool-Aid") when in actual fact, the brand used was Flavor-Aid.
  • Kraft Dinner, commonly abbreviated to KD (in Canada), is any type of mac 'n cheese.
  • Laundromat (coin laundry shop): Trademarked to Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
  • Lego (or, god forbid, the unsightly incorrect plural "legos") is used to refer to any kind of small interlocking construction toys, sometimes even those with different mechanisms to actual LEGO. LEGO (and the fandom) is very insistent in their magazines that people call them "LEGO Brand Building Toys", but their generic competitors from dollar stores and brands like Mega Bloks get lumped in anyway. Some would argue, however, that LEGO does attempt to make subtle distinctions in the use of its brand name to distinguish its competitors' products. Either way, making this mistake tends to amount to the highest form of fandom heresy among LEGO circles.
    • Also, don't you dare call that Obi-Wan figurine that came with your LEGO Star Wars set a "Lego", either. It's called a "minifigure". Even your local news will come after you.
  • Lekos ("LEE-kohs") for ellipsoidal reflector spotlights, one of the two light types which make up the bulk of theatrical lighting (Fresnel units being the other). Even textbooks on the subject have been known to use the brand name.
    • This is being displaced, with only older stagehands/electricians/lighting designers typically referring to ellipsoidals as "Lekos"; this may be due to the near-ubiquity of ETC Source Four lighting instruments in theatrical installations (and Altman instruments before that, throughout the 80s and early 90s).
    • These lights are also sometimes referred to as "Kliegs," making this a double example.
  • Linoleum (floor covering)
  • Luxaflex (in the Netherlands, window blinds, specifically the horizontal ones; vertical ones are lamellen (lamellae))
  • Mack (gas stations): in Sweden. Originally a brand of petrol pumps.
    • Mack is also a common term for tractor-trailer cabs in the USA, usually in the form "Mack truck". For example, Optimus Prime is often referred to as a Mack truck despite actually being a Freightliner model.
  • Maggi (instant noodles): in the Indian subcontinent.
    • In the Netherlands, it's the salty food additive that comes in those brown bottles. Maggi sells a lot of other products as well, but when you say, "Pass the Maggi", people usually know that you mean the brown bottled stuff.
    • Same thing in Poland as in Netherlands.
    • As well as Romania.
    • Dito Germany. Accompanied by massive overuse of the stuff in some households, to the degree that there's a joke along the lines of "the French use magie (magic) in their cooking, the Germans use Maggi", due to the similar sound of the words.
    • Maggi for instant noodles used to be this in the Philippines, but with an influx of competitors due to the popularity of the stuff as cheap staple food for the poor, this has mostly been subverted, with "instant noodles/ramen" retaking the common name.
    • It means "bouillon cubes" in most of the Arab world. Same with the African continent.
    • In Brazil, it's Miojo (the brand sold there by Nissin - the company who invented instant noodles).
  • Magic Marker (felt-tip pen)
  • Mapquest (online driving directions)
  • M&M's (button-shaped chocolate candies)
    • In Brazil, Confeti [dead link] (helps that their world-famous Carnival uses lots of confetti)
  • Modess (sanitary napkins): in Latin America
  • Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen)
  • Muzak (a music distribution system): Most often used to refer to the offensively inoffensive wishes-it-was-jazz music played over these systems rather than the system itself.

N - T

  • Natel /Handy (mobile phones) in Switzerland; the former is based on the term Nationales Auto-Telefon - national phone network for cars.
  • Nintendo (console video games): For example, "go play some Nintendo".
    • This one has shifted around a lot. Back when the Atari 2600 was the king of the hill, "Atari" was used as a generic term for video games. "Nintendo" replaced it during the NES era and persisted for the most part through the 16-bit era. After that, Nintendo started to decline and "PlayStation" gained some currency as a generic term. Since then, however, all of these generics seem to have largely fallen out of use, probably due to the relatively even footing of the current post-PlayStation 2 era.
    • Similarly, "Dendy" in Russia; it's the name of a NES clone from the early 90s.
  • Onesie (bodysuit that snaps at the crotch, typically worn by babies): Trademarked by Gerber.
    • Although that one's a bit less than legit. The term "onesie" existed before the Gerber company was founded and referred to one-piece long underewear.
  • Pacer (mechanical pencil)
  • Pampers (disposable diapers): in Puerto Rico, parts of the United States, the Caribbean, Poland and the Netherlands.
  • Panadol (paracetamol, a painkiller): in Australia and New Zealand
  • PC (Personal Computer) (desktop computers): originally an IBM brand name.
    • What mostly contributed to this is the phenomenon of cloning the computer's architecture, which was easier to do with IBM's PC than with some other personal computers (like e.g. Apple's Macintosh). The term "PC" is still used only for IBM PC clones rather than for all the personal computers.
  • Pelephone (mobile phones): in Israel, from the first company to provide them there.
  • Pepto-Bismol (pink liquid indigestion drug)
  • Photoshop (digital photographic manipulation software): Not only for software, but by extension the verb "Photoshopping" and the abbreviation "'shop"/"'shopping" for the act of digital photographic manipulation. Adobe has expressed its distaste for the use of the name in this way.
  • Pickleball (a mini-tennis game played with wooden paddles and plastic balls, named after the inventor's dog)
  • Ping Pong (table tennis)
  • Placoplatre or Placo (drywall): in France
  • Plamodel (Plastic Model) (model kits): Used in Japan; a trademark of Bandai Japan, famously for Gundam model kits but also many others.
  • Polaroid (instant photographs): Not made by the Polaroid Corporation anymore, probably because the invention of digital cameras has made the concept obsolete unless you need something that can't be photoshopped edited for insurance purposes.
  • Polartec (synthetic wool for outdoorsmen)
  • Polylux (overhead projector): in the former GDR
  • Pop Tarts (toaster pastries)
  • Popsicle (ice pop): in the USA and Canada.
  • Post-It Notes (self-sticking removable notes)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine-based anti-depressants)
  • Purell (anti-bacterial soap)
  • Putt-Putt golf (miniature golf)
  • Q-Tips (cotton swabs): in the US.
  • Ramen (instant noodles): in the US.
  • Rapid Refund (refund anticipation loan, or RAL): a trademark of H&R Block.
  • Realtor (real estate agent): A trademarked term for members of the National Association of Realtors in the US, dating back to 1948. Attempts to challenge the trademark on the grounds that "realtor" is a generic word have been rejected by the courts.
  • Refrigerator (electric ice boxes): "Refrigerator" was declared a household word long ago, and for a while, "Frigidaire" looked like it was headed in the same direction.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate, a stimulant)
  • Rollerblade (in-line roller skates)
  • Rolodex (circular address books)
  • Rotring in grade schools seems to be synonymous with 'mechanical pencil'. Any other kind of rotring product will trigger aggressive arguments and the person owning it is likely to be on the receiving end.
  • Saltine crackers, which are more generically called soda crackers.
  • Saran Wrap / Glad Wrap (see 'cellophane' above)
  • Scantron sheets: (US) The fill-in bubble sheets used for standardized tests.
  • Scotch tape (clear adhesive tape): Used in the USA and Russia; just "Scotch" in France.
  • Sellotape (clear adhesive tape): Used in the UK.
  • In Korea and Japan, mechanical pencils are commonly known as "Sharp pencils." Not because they have keen tips, but because they were popularized there by the Sharp company, now known for making electronics.
  • Sharpie (permanent marker)
    • And an even older brand, Magic Marker—in North America and Japan, interestingly enough.
  • Sheetrock (drywall)
  • Sherrin (Australian Rules Football ball), though this is a very rare term. Sherrin is still definitely the dominant AFL ball producer, though.
  • Skidoo (snowmobile)
    • Seadoo (personal watercraft), to an even larger extent.
  • Slurpee (a semi-frozen drink, usually purchased from a gas station or convenience store): trademarked by 7-Eleven.
    • ICEE is another trademark used for a frozen drink that is widely genericized.
  • Solex / Velosolex (motorcycle): Averted: the story is that they came up with the word "Bromfiets" (moped in Dutch) to avoid brand-name takeover when it was about to happen and the term stuck.
  • Solo (tailgating/kegger cups)
  • Spandex (stretchable synthetic cloth)
    • Lycra as well.
  • Speedo (swim briefs)
  • Splenda (low-calorie sugar substitute)
  • Sprite (lemon-lime soda pop that's clear in color and caffeine-free)
    • Mountain Dew (lemon-lime soda pop that's green in color and contains caffeine): Store brands tend to have both versions.
    • 7-Up was the previous generic lemon-lime. Sierra Mist is likely to avert this.
  • Stubbies (men's shorts): In Australia and New Zealand; a brand of Edward Fletcher and Co.
  • Styrofoam (extruded polystyrene insulating foam)
  • Superglue (cyanoacrylate glue): Used in the UK and Russia. Notably that in Russia it was formerly known as "Japanese Superglue".
    • Cyanoarcrylate glue actually has two genericized names in the US; it's equally common to hear it referred to as Super Glue and Krazy Glue.
    • Superglu in France.
  • Superhero (super-powered, costumed crimefighters in comic books): This word is jointly trademarked by Marvel and DC Comics. Though "super hero" and "super-hero" are free for anybody to use, which sorta defeats the purpose.
  • Tannoy (public address system): in the UK.
  • Tarmac (asphalt road covering)
  • Taser (electroshock weapons): Also appropriated as the verb "to tase".
  • Tayto (potato chips / crisps): An Irish brand.
  • Technicolor (color film process)
  • Tesafilm (clear adhesive tape): in Germany.
  • Thermos (temperature-regulating vacuum flasks)
  • Top Ramen (instant noodles)
  • Touch-Tone ("dual-tone multi-frequency signaling"): Now that rotary-dial phones are deader than dodos, this term has fallen out of use.
  • Trampoline (rebound tumbler)
  • Transformers (toys that transform between robots and vehicles or other things)
  • Trojan (condom)
  • TiVo (digital video recorder): Used as the verb for "to record a program on a digital video recorder".
    • Sky Plus is the equivalent in the UK, though because Sky Plus comes integrated in the Sky satellite service, you'll sometimes hear about people trying to buy Sky Plus box for their Freeview.
  • Tupperware (plastic storage tubs)
  • Tylenol (paracetamol, or acetaminophen in the US; painkillers)
  • Tyvek (flash-spun polyethylene fiber): Developed by Dupont.

U - Z

  • Ugg boots are a weird inversion—an Australian company sued to overturn the Ugg trademark on the grounds that "ugg boot" was a generic term long before it was a trademark. The trademark was declared invalid in Australia, but not in the US.
  • Under Armour seems to be headed this way for performance doubleknits.
    • In Australia Skins is the preferred term (also a brand).
  • V-Cinema (Direct to Video releases of films/episodes): A trademark of Toei Company. In the US, this is the term for Japanese live action DTV releases in the States.
  • Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
  • Velcro (hook-and-loop fasteners)
  • Viagra (sildenafil): Trademarked by Pfizer.
  • Victrola (phonograph): A trademark of the Victor Talking Machine Company (later absorbed into RCA Victor). Something of a generic term for a phonograph record player in the early 20th century, but this use faded over time, and now people just call them "turntables" or "record players". (That is, when they're not asking, "What Are Records?")
  • Visqueen (plastic sheeting)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: Not a product, but so successful (compared to other parody artists, even notables like Bob Rivers) that people on file sharing sites mistakenly tend to use the name on all parody songs - even those he didn't or would never write. He doesn't like it. At least one fan site maintains a page of songs mistakenly attributed to him to help clear up the confusion.
  • Wikipedia (aka The Other Wiki) (wiki-based encyclopaedia): A registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation. Frequently misused to refer to wikis in general. Wikia (Jimbo Wales' for-profit hosting company) registered multiple domains which infringed the Wikileaks mark at one point as retaliation for a press release that billed Wikileaks as a 'Wikipedia of secrets'.
  • Windex (glass and mirror cleaning spray)
  • Winnebago (Class A recreational vehicle)
  • Wite Out (correction fluid)
    • Called "Twink" in New Zealand; "Tipp-Ex" in the UK, France and the Netherlands; and "Liquid Paper" in Australia and Canada.
  • X-Acto knife (utility knife)
    • Known as a Stanley knife (also a genericised trademark) in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
  • Xerox (photocopying machines)
  • Yo-yo (spinning toy on string)
    • "Yo-yo" lost its trademark protection long ago, but "Duncan" is still protected.
    • Is apparently still protected in Canada. Nintendo changed "Yo-yo" to "Star" in its Virtual Console rerelease of StarTropics for this reason (yet the yo-yo remains unaltered in Kirby Super Star Ultra)
  • Zamboni (ice resurfacing machines)
    • Going so far that when American Speedskater KC Boutiette saw a Dutch "natural" ice-rink use tractors to resurface their ice he called them Zambonis.
  • Ziploc Bags (disposable, resealable zippered storage bags)
  • Zipper (interlocking fasteners): Originally a trademark for a brand of rubber overshoes made by B.F. Goodrich, one of the first widely-sold products using zippers as fasteners. The name transferred to the fasteners.
  • Zippo (cigarette lighters)
  1. a pudding-like type of curdled milk