Bobcat cracks down on misuse of its name
Bobcat is on a mission to stop earthmover dealers, contractors and hire companies using the term ‘Bobcat’ to refer to any generic skid-steer loader, pointing out that the name and its related logo are registered trademarks of Bobcat Company.
"Bobcat invented the skid-steer loader more than 50 years ago in North Dakota, USA," says the company’s Australian representative, Roger Baker. "Because of its popularity, the company has identified that some people mistakenly call any skid-steer loader ‘a Bobcat’.
"Therefore, we’re advising those involved in earthmoving, building and related industries to only use the word ‘Bobcat’, or feature the Bobcat logo, when referring to genuine Bobcat equipment, and to always ensure the Bobcat trademark is followed by the common name of the product; for example, Bobcat skid-steer loaders, Bobcat compact track loaders or Bobcat mini excavators. Doing so will ensure Bobcat branded equipment retains the value the industry places on it."
In addition to this, Baker says, the word ‘Bobcat’ should not feature as part of a business’s name "which happens to deal in skid-steer loaders and related equipment, or offers services utilising such equipment".
The company has reason to be vigilant — the Australian Government’s intellectual property watchdog, IP Australia, says that if a trademark "becomes known as the generic name for your goods or services and ceases to be recognised as a trade mark, an application to the courts to have the registration cancelled may be successful".
Some examples of words which started out as trademarks but lost their protection through being ‘genericised’ are windsurfer, aspirin, escalator, laundromat and heroin.
And besides Bobcat, other trademarked names in danger of going the same way are AstroTurf, Coke, Esky, Frisbee, Jet Ski, Photoshop, Rollerblade and Onesie
Bobcat recently unveiled its special edition one-millionth Bobcat loaders at the Conexpo trade show in Las Vegas. These skid-steer and compact track loader models have special paint and decal schemes, available through authorised Bobcat dealers in limited quantities throughout 2014.
"The celebration of the one-millionth loader is a significant milestone and marks what Bobcat Company has achieved over the years," Baker says. "We are grateful for the support of the local industry and look forward to growing our compact equipment business throughout Australia."
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