In many big companies, intellectual property protection – trademarks and registered marks – drive product naming. I’ve worked on several projects in November that suffered from overwrought names. Some examples (not necessarily from my work):
- Intel® Centrino® Pro™ processor technology
- The 2007 Microsoft Office system
- Adobe® Acrobat® 8 Professional software
The problem is that there is little flexibility in the way writers can use these phrases. In some cases, a five-word name with three trademark bugs has to be used EVERY time the product is referenced. No abbreviation or variation is allowed at all. I suppose part of the challenge of my work is to deal with this and still turn out reasonable copy.
I’d love to hear from a IP lawyer about why this happens. Some companies seem to have wieldy product names and still protect their rights. MacBook, iPod, OS X or iPhone anyone?
(In fact Apple’s pith may explain an odd phenomenon. I have never understood why people call them “AppleMac”. Perhaps they need more words than Apple give them.)
I’m going to change my name. From now on, I want to be known as “the 2008 Matthew Stibbe Writing™ system Ultimate Edition® with Marketing Plus Technology®.