Sometimes, a company's trademark becomes so successful, that people start using it as a generic term for similar products. Often, this renders the trademark nigh-unenforceable, a victim of its own success.

So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed by the amount of spam in your inbox, saddened by the knowledge that simply deleting the messages one by one is just putting a band-aid over the fundamental problem, don't fret too deeply.

Before you weepingly reach for that kleenex, consider how much luckier you are compared to the poor companies, who must deal with a headache no amount of aspirin can cure.

They build up their brands, and send out their frothing attack-lawyers to defend them, only to discover that their belovèd trademarks have been indelibly xeroxed into the vernacular.

On a related note, an eye-opening article entitled "Trademark Anti-Dilution Laws as Cultural Censorship", which discusses some of the anticompetitive side-effects of trademark law, can be found at:

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