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Googled or googled?

Crumbly Writer

I know it's a trademark, but should you capitalize the verb "googled" or not. The style guides seem to be all over the map. The newspaper guides say to capitalize, since it's based on a trademark (and they're paid by the company), although many source don't.

Any rules for reapplying a trademark? I know if you walk into a small shop and order a generic soda, you'd spell it: "Gimme a coke!"

Ernest Bywater

All of the above.

OK, technically it should have a capital G, however, common usage is to not have a capital G. The Google lawyers have been known to take people to task for not using a capital G in the term in major publications, but not always.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

should you capitalize the verb "googled" or not? The style guides seem to be all over the map.

The two most widely followed "style guides", for AmE and BrE, both say 'NOT'.

CMOS 8.152 states:

some companies ... discourage turning product names into verbs, but these restrictions ... are not legally binding. (In fact, Webster's includes entries for lowercase verbs google and xerox.)

Also New Hart's Rules 5.15 states:

In general proprietary terms should be capitalized ... but write related verbs, for example to skype and to google, with a lower-case initial

Ross at Play

I think the principle to apply here is: Newly invented words are ALWAYS regular.
Thus, you should use lower case.

Crumbly Writer

Thanks. That's what I was thinking, but needed to hear it from someone besides myself.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

"Gimme a coke!"


I seem to remember Coca-Cola squawking about that, perhaps even a court case. If you ask for a coke, they should supply you with Coca-Cola. The non-proprietary term term is cola.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

Agreed.

Hoover got rather litigious about how their brand was being used as a generic term for vacuum cleaner. As a consequence we're supposed to write eg "I got out my Hoover and hoovered the carpet." The noun is capitalised but the verb isn't. I suspect Google and googling should follow the same convention, even though IMO it's nuts.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I seem to remember Coca-Cola squawking about that, perhaps even a court case. If you ask for a coke, they should supply you with Coca-Cola. The non-proprietary term term is cola.


It was Pepsi. That's why when a restaurant has Pepsi as their default cola the waitress asks, "Is Pepsi okay?"

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

Hoover got rather litigious about how their brand was being used as a generic term for vacuum cleaner.


That litigiousness is necessitated by the structure of US trademark law. If the trademark starts being used as a generic term, then the company could lose the trade mark.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Hoover got rather litigious about how their brand was being used as a generic term for vacuum cleaner. As a consequence we're supposed to write eg "I got out my Hoover and hoovered the carpet." The noun is capitalised but the verb isn't. I suspect Google and googling should follow the same convention, even though IMO it's nuts.

From all indications, Google has never sought to dictate how their name is 'normalized', as a Google search for "googling" turns up both "Googling" and "googling". Nowhere do they stipulate that they object to the use of the term.

@DS

That litigiousness is necessitated by the structure of US trademark law. If the trademark starts being used as a generic term, then the company could lose the trade mark.

I suspect the difference is the term "googling" doesn't threaten their trademark of "Google". It's an 'associative term', not a direct trademark violation (though I'm not sure of that).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

From all indications, Google has never sought to dictate how their name is 'normalized', as a Google search for "googling"


I remember reading that they did. Instead of "googling" they wanted something crazy like "searching using the Google search engine."

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

If the trademark starts being used as a generic term, then the company could lose the trade mark.

For example Kleenex became a generic term for facial tissue. Xerox became, or nearly became, a generic word for making a copy. (My spell check insisted it be spelled with a capital K. Perhaps they heard from somebody's lawyer?)

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

For example Kleenex became a generic term for facial tissue. Xerox became


I don't think Kleenex and Xerox lost their trademark. Aspirin and thermos did, though.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

Aspirin and thermos did, though

I seem to recall the Aspirin problem involved Bayer being a German Company and we were at war with Germany. There were difficulties having an alien enemy enforcing its rights during a war. We may even have sold the right to use the name aspirin to a US entity. I ought to google what happened.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@richardshagrin

Google knows all and sees all.
"But Bayer's brand among Americans took a hit, and the British government had already stripped Bayer of its trademark over "aspirin." When the Americans allied to Britain and the Triple Entente, this became important, as the United States seized all of Bayer's property within the U.S., including their trademarks (at least when used domestically). In many cases, similar seizures would be reversed when the war ended, but Bayer became a special case. The Treaty of Versailles ended the war as it related to Germany, with the Germans agreeing to pay billions of dollars (in today's terms) in reparations. Because cash payments would lead to hyperinflation of German currency, thereby devaluing the reparations received, the parties got creative. Germany agreed, as part of their reparations, to fork over coal, steel, and other resources. And more relevant to this story, Germany agreed to release claims over certain intellectual property — such as the trademark over the term "aspirin."

Since then, aspirin has become a generic term in most of the world."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

And more relevant to this story, Germany agreed to release claims over certain intellectual property — such as the trademark over the term "aspirin."

Note: the Country of Germany forked over the Bayer's companies Aspirin trademark, something it didn't really have any rightful claim over. The sacrificed a minor companies trademark to save money for the good of the politicians.

sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


"Gimme a coke!"

I seem to remember Coca-Cola squawking about that, perhaps even a court case. If you ask for a coke, they should supply you with Coca-Cola. The non-proprietary term term is cola.


That is US, not British. They would tell you what brand they have or ask which brand you want. I have never ever heard it said and I would never think to ask for a "cola"

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

That is US, not British ... I would never think to ask for a "cola"

Ditto from Down Under.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej


That is US, not British.


It's not even a US thing. Even within the US, it's a strictly regional thing in the southern US states

sejintenej
Updated:

@sejintenej


The non-proprietary term term is cola.


If Richardshagrin's spellcheck saw that it would become Kola which is famous/infamous for Russian nuclear subs

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I know if you walk into a small shop and order a generic soda, you'd spell it: "Gimme a coke!"


It matters not how you want to spell it, here in Australia you'll get either a Coca-Cola or the phrase, "I'm sorry, we don't have coke. Will a Pepsi be OK?"

Edit to add: I forgot to mention in some places someone will say, "Sure," and hand you a little bag of some white substance and ask for a large amount of money.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

It matters not how you want to spell it, here in Australia you'll get either a Coca-Cola or the phrase, "I'm sorry, we don't have coke. Will a Pepsi be OK?"


That's the way it is in America too. It's because of the suit Pepsi won. The restaurant is required to say it's a Pepsi if that's their default cola.

Capt. Zapp
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


"I'm sorry, we don't have coke. Will a Pepsi be OK?"


To which I would reply "No thanks. What else do you have?"

edit - typo

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@sejintenej

No, soon after court case I asked for a coke in a cafe/bar and the waitress asked whether Pepsi would be okay instead.

Since retailers will now serve generic cola instead of Coca-Cola and there hasn't been further litigation, I guess they've lost enthusiasm for enforcing their naming rights.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

Nowadays, if you ask for either "Coke", "Pepsi", "Soda" or "Cola", most people simply stare, since they can't believe anyone would ever dare drink carbonated beverages anymore. (It seems everyone is purchasing dollar+ waters now.)

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