Two readers have questioned a comment I made about Judge Posner’s remark in Ty v. Perryman that THERMOS no longer functions as a trademark. Yes, the word mark THERMOS no longer functions as a trademark for vacuum containers for liquids (which is old news). What I was thinking when I said that the owners of the THERMOS trademark would be distressed by Judge Posner’s remark (but did not elaborate upon), is that unlike the other examples Posner gave, such as BRASSIERE or YO-YO or ASPIRIN, THERMOS is still used as a trading name and trademark by The THERMOS Company, and its stylized THERMOS logo is still readily recognizable as a trademark. Of course, as was suggested to me, trademark counsel at Thermos may not distress easy at this point.
Perhaps a better nit to pick with Judge Posner is his assertion that BEANIE is descriptive.