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Three Words You Won’t Believe Are Trademarked

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Trademark laws are an important part of the marketplace. They not only protect companies’ brands, but also ensure that consumers know that certain products and services are coming from one source. For example, if you buy something called “Coca-Cola” or “Coke,” you know you’re buying one of the Coca-Cola company’s products, and not another company’s, like RC Cola, for example.

What’s interesting about trademark law though is that movie studios and other companies will trademark certain unexpected phrases in an attempt to dissuade other companies from ripping them off. This is particularly important for tech startup lawyers to be aware of, as their clients may inadvertently try to call their product an innocuous word or phrase that’s commonly used, and wind up trespassing on another’s intellectual property.

To give you a better idea of just how weird trademark law can get sometimes, here are a few words and phrases you won’t believe are owned by someone.


It’s easy to assume that either Google or Motorola owns the word “Droid,” since the former’s mobile device operating system is called Android and the latter’s flagship phone was called the “Droid” for a long time. However, as the owner’s intellectual property attorneys might put it, “those aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

If you look at the bottom of a Droid phone, you’ll notice that it says in fine print: “DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.”


According to trademark law, Toho Studio, who created Godzilla, own the suffix “zilla,” which means that they have the legal right to sue any and all companies who might try to use “zilla” in a product name. Recently, the movie studio’s trademark attorneys took a crack at Sears after the company came out with “Bagzilla,” “the monstrously strong bag.” They lost the case, though, because the judge said that the products were not likely to get confused with the original, giant, movie monster, and so Sears didn’t break trademark law.


Yep, that’s right. A company called Monster Cable Products technically owns the word monster, as per trademark law, and has threatened the likes of Disney (because of their film Monsters, Inc.), online job board, and even Monster Mini Golf franchise.

This just goes to show that you need to be wary of trademark law. Though it might seem like some words are free for anyone to use, the truth of the matter is that not all of them are. If you have any questions about trademark law, feel free to ask in the comments. More can be found here.

Idaho Legal News

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