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Sometimes a trademark is too 'successful'

Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 7:00 PM | By John Schofield

Next time you’re sipping your morning coffee, spare a thought for Bodum, the famous Swiss coffee equipment maker and a hapless victim of brutal trademark genericide. In 1997, the company successfully registered the term French press as a trademark and displayed it on its non-electric coffee makers.

Sixteen years later, the trademark was expunged when the Federal Court of Appeal decided in Bodum, USA Inc. v. Meyer Housewares Canada Inc. 2013 FCA 240, that it wasn’t distinctive enough and was really a generic term akin to...