Zoom Beware! Don’t become the next Velcro

Zoom is definitely the buzz word of the moment. The use of the app has grown exponentially since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and the company’s stock has gone through the roof leaving rival competitors such as Skype and BlueJeans behind. There is no doubt that the trademark Zoom is a success story in these troublesome times, but is it possible for Zoom to become too successful?

Believe it or not, the answer is YES. Let’s zoom in: what if Zoom becomes a synonym for conducting online video meetings, regardless of the specific app used? What if Zoom becomes a verb? This will mean that Zoom has lost its distinctiveness and that people will not associate Zoom with a certain source. In such a scenario, Zoom will become a generic trademark, and its owners won’t be able to stop others from using Zoom for online conferencing services.

This wouldn’t be a first. Over the years, many brands have come to realize the adverse consequences of a trademark that is too successful.

Past examples include: Aspirin, Linoleum, and Velcro all of which people often use as a generic term. The genericness of these trademarks prevents their owners from stopping others using their trademark. Due to this harsh reality sometimes the trademark owners and their lawyers are left with no choice but to sing their grief, begging us all to stop using their trademark as a verb:

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