A lot of people (I have found most) seem to use the term “Yellow Pages” when they talk about consumer-facing business directories, I guess its something that my generation grew up with. But few people realise that the term is, in some countries, a registered trademark.
In the UK Yell Group owns the trademark and they guard it fiercely, indeed The Brownbook received several letters when we started out cautioning us, in no uncertain terms, about the use of the term.
I can’t help but wonder how long the term will remain an enforcable trademark? How long before it becomes genericised?
Let me ask you this – and before you answer just spend a few minutes with Google News – do today’s up-coming consumer generations assign the same meaning to the term “yellow pages”? Are Yell’s actions likely to stop people using the term in a generic context?
Well, for companies like us, yes. One of the common complaints from trademark owners is that of ‘passing off’ – that the alledged infringer will somehow be confused with the TM owner and all us dumb consumers will somehow thing that the upstart is the TM owner. Well, Brownbook.net is proud NOT to be associated with ‘Yellow Pages’ or the owner of that trademark, maybe I need to make that even clearer, just in case you missed that ;).
We’re moving ahead, creating a new path, clearing out the old and welcoming the new, why would we want to be associated with the stalwarts :). Come the revolution…