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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2023-03-24

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2023-03-24 Fri

#5079. 商標 (trademark) の言語学的な扱いは難しい [trademark][onomastics][eponym][semantic_change][prototype]

 昨日の記事で紹介した「#5078. 法言語学 (forensic linguistics)」 ([2023-03-23-1]) は広く「法と言語」を扱う分野ととらえてよい.そこで論じられる問題の1つに商標 (trademark) がある.商標にはコピーライトが付与され,法的に守られることになるが,対応する商品があまりに人気を博すると,商標は総称的 (generic) な名詞,つまり普通名詞に近づいてくる.法的に守られているとはいえ,社会の大多数により普通名詞として用いられるようになれば,法律とて社会の慣用に合わせて変化していかざるを得ないだろう.商標を言語的に,社会的にどのように位置づけるかは実際的な問題である.
 McArthur の用語辞典を参照すると,trademark が言語学的に厄介であることがよく分かる.

TRADEMARK, also trade mark, trade-mark, [16c]. . . . A sign or name that is secured by legal registration or (in some countries) by established use, and serves to distinguish one product from similar brands sold by competitors: for example, the shell logo for Shell, the petroleum company, and the brand name Jacuzzi for one kind of whirlpool bath. Legal injunctions are often sought when companies consider that their sole right to such marks has been infringed; the makers of Coke, Jeep, Jell-O, Kleenex, Scotch Tape, and Xerox have all gone to court in defence of their brand (or proprietary) names . . . . Although companies complain when their trademarks begin to be used as generic terms in the media or elsewhere, their own marketing has often, paradoxically, caused the problem: 'Most marketing people will try hard to get their brand names accepted by the public as a generic. It's the hallmark of success. But then the trademarks people have to defend the brand from becoming a generic saying it is unique and owned by the company' (trademark manager, quoted in Journalist's Week, 7 Dec. 1990).
   There is in practice a vague area between generic terms proper, trademarks that have become somewhat generic, and trademarks that are recognized as such. The situation is complicated by different usages in different countries: for example, Monopoly and Thermos are trademarks in the UK but generics in the US. Product wrappers and business documents often indicate that a trademark is registered by adding TM (for 'trademark') or R (for 'registered') in a superscript circle after the term, as with English TodayTM, Sellotape®. The term usually differs from trade name [first used c.1860s] by designating a specific product and not a business, service, or class of goods, articles, or substances: but some trademarks and trade names may happen to be the same. Everyday words of English that were once trademarks (some now universal, some more common in one variety of English than another, some dated, all commonly written without an initial capital) include aspirin, bandaid, cellophane, celluloid, cornflakes, dictaphone, escalator, granola, hoover, kerosene, lanolin, mimeograph, nylon, phonograph, shredded wheat, zipper. Trademarks facing difficulties include Astroturf, Dacron, Formica, Frisbee, Hovercract, Jacuzzi, Laundromat, Mace, Muzak, Q-Tips, Scotch Tape, Styrofoam, Teflon, Vaseline, Xerox. The inclusion of such names in dictionaries, even when marked 'trademark' or 'proprietary term', indicates that their status has begun to shift. Trademark names used as verbs are a further area of difficulty, both generally and in lexicography. One solution adopted by publishers of dictionaries is to regard the verb forms as generic, with a small initial letter: that is, Xerox (noun), but xerox (verb).


 商標の位置づけが空間的に変異し,時間的に変化し得るとなれば,言語変化や歴史言語学の話題としてみることもできるだろう.「商標の英語史」というのもなかなかおもしろそうなテーマではないか.

 ・ McArthur, Tom, ed. The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford: OUP, 1992.

Referrer (Inside): [2023-04-03-1] [2023-03-30-1]

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