And you thought thumbdrive was a generic term like aspirin, zipper, and escalator, right? It turns out, ThumbDrive™ is now an officially trademarked term, similar to Band-Aid, Xerox, and Kleenex. Paul McNamara in Macworld:
The government’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has ruled that “thumb drive” is not a generic term and therefore ThumbDrive™ is worthy of trademark protection.
How is that possible for such a widely used and seemingly obvious generic term?
The appeals board was persuaded by the fact that other USB flash drive makers are already respecting ThumbDrive™ as a trademark and competing in the marketplace despite not using that term as a generic. They also cited Trek’s successful efforts to get a few media outlets to stop using thumb drive generically. As for the (apparent) fact that the typical person would consider thumb drive a generic, the board said that alone, even if demonstrable, wouldn’t be enough to strip Trek of its trademark rights.
Good for them.