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Do you know these trademarked brand names?

Many names we use for items are trademarked brand names. Find out about some common ones and how to use them correctly.

By Trust and Safety 25 August 2023

Some items where the trademarked brand name is commonly used as a generic term.

Many of the terms we use every day are actually trademarked.

There are lots of trademarked brand names that people often use to describe their generic counterparts.

If you own that trademark, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. You’re stoked that your brand dominates, but you run the risk of its power being lost if it's commonly used to describe generic substitutes.

What does this mean for sellers?

If you're selling something, you can only refer to a trademarked brand name if that's what you're selling.

If you're selling a similar item, or a generic substitute, you need to use a generic term to describe the item instead.

A common one is AirPods, which is a trademark of Apple Inc. Many people say 'AirPods' when talking about other brands of bluetooth earbuds – even if they're not Apple AirPods. This is fine in day-to-day conversation, but not okay when selling them online.

Some common trademarked names:
Brand nameGeneric term
AirPods/EarPodsAirPods/EarPodsHeadphones or wireless headphonesHeadphones or wireless headphones
Astro TurfAstro TurfArtificial turfArtificial turf
Band-aidBand-aidAdhesive bandage/plasterAdhesive bandage/plaster
Bubble WrapBubble WrapSealed air roll/sheetSealed air roll/sheet
ChapstickChapstickLip balmLip balm
Crock PotCrock PotSlow cookerSlow cooker
FrisbeeFrisbeeFlying discFlying disc
HooverHooverVacuum cleanerVacuum cleaner
Panadol or PamolPanadol or PamolParacetamolParacetamol
Pink BattsPink BattsInsulation sheets/balesInsulation sheets/bales
PortacomPortacomPortable building/cabin/officePortable building/cabin/office
RoombaRoombaRobot vacuumRobot vacuum
SellotapeSellotapeSticky tape/adhesive tapeSticky tape/adhesive tape
SpeedosSpeedosSwimming briefs/togsSwimming briefs/togs
ThermosThermosInsulated/thermal flaskInsulated/thermal flask
TupperwareTupperwareFood storage containerFood storage container
Twink/WhiteoutTwink/WhiteoutCorrection fluid/tape/penCorrection fluid/tape/pen
VelcroVelcroHook and loop fastenerHook and loop fastener
Vivid/SharpieVivid/SharpiePermanent markerPermanent marker

Please note, this is just a guide for some commonly used trademarked names, and isn't a complete list. It's always a good idea to do your research.

Why does it matter?

  • Brands want to protect the integrity of their intellectual property – to make sure others aren't making money off their reputation.
  • So consumers can easily tell the difference between a trademarked product and a generic alternative.

Trade Me's role

We work with a bunch of brands to help them protect their trademarks and stop them from becoming generic or common use.

A bunch of brands have a direct line to us, and will notify us if they come across a listing that breaches their trademark.

If we come across a listing breaching a brand's intellectual property rights, we'll remove it from the site.


Trust and Safety
Trust and Safety