Hillary Clinton’s “change you can xerox” crack from last night got me wondering how the people at the Xerox Corporation feel about the use of their corporate name as a generic verb. It turns out they don’t like it at all:
Xerox is a famous trademark and trade name. Xerox as a trademark is properly used only as a brand name to identify the company’s products and services. The Xerox trademark should always be used as a proper adjective followed by the generic name of the product: e.g., Xerox printer. The Xerox trademark should never be used as a verb. The trade name Xerox is an abbreviation for the company’s full legal name: Xerox Corporation.
Apparently the concern is that if too many people start talking about how Brother’s multifunction printers not only print and fax, but make xeroxes, too, that the Xerox trademark becomes diluted. Thus, in public at least, they need to vigorously contest the little-x “xerox” usages. In private, you’ve got to imagine that this is good PR.