Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2007-02/Trademark designations

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Trademark designations in definitions[edit]

Bearing in mind that there is no legal requirement that we provide any indication of trademark status, I propose the following four options:

  • Option 1: Include ® or in the headword. For words that have both a trademark and non-trademark meaning such as ABC, Dove, Ford, Hartford, Mercury, Janus, Nike, Quaker, etc., have separate headwords for these different meanings (see Mercedes for an example).
  • Option 2: Include {{trademark}} at the beginning of the definition line for any definition that is a trademark.
  • Option 3: Include a Usage note explaining that the word is a trademark.
  • Option 4: Provide no indication that the word is a trademark.

Option 1[edit]

  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC) (-- Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC))
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose H. (talk) 13:48, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
    Comment: I also take great issue with this option, and I would comment as much, but I don't think it's appropriate to vote in opposition when there are several options listed. This should really be made more clear. DAVilla 19:16, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
    I don't see the harm in expressing opposition to an option. bd2412 T 19:22, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
    I'm not sure it's a huge deal, but I do think it's more harm than good. Firstly, it's misleading to people who don't understand the system; they might think that voting against an option actually does something — and that not voting on an option is less severe than voting against it, when indeed they amount to the same thing. Secondly, it can be misleading even to people who do understand the system; currently there are 16 votes for option 2, of which two are marked as "oppose". Obviously when the votes are actually tallied, the votes marked "oppose" will be ignored, and hopefully the tallier will notice the vote marked "support" that's missing the icon, but it makes it harder to quickly see which options are most popular. —RuakhTALK 00:04, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
    I think that voting oppose does have significance. In a vote such as this, where multiple options can 'win' and be applied (eg the usage note and the tag), if one option garnered 10 votes of support and a second option garnered 8, both would likely be implemented. If, however, the second option had 8 votes of support but also had 8 votes of opposition, it would (hopefully) not be implemented. Silence is less severe than opposition. -- Beobach972 20:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
    That would have made sense, but (unless I'm misunderstanding something) that's not how this vote is structured. This vote is structured as an approval vote between four mutually exclusive options, where the most popular option wins and all others lose (except that there might be a simple majority run-off between the top two). —RuakhTALK 23:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Option 2[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support bd2412 T 03:36, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support Timw. 03:50, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg SupportRuakhTALK 04:47, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Note: This is assuming {{trademark}} takes a form I like. Would it be the same as a {{context|trademark}}? —RuakhTALK 04:59, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
      • That is how I imagine it as well. Dmcdevit 05:06, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
        • Like the {{slang}} template, I think. bd2412 T 01:53, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support Atelaes 04:49, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  5. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, since trademark status, if deemed useful at all, is not concerned with the definition of the word, and does not belong in the definition line. Dmcdevit 06:33, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
  6. Support I think this is the appropriate course to take:
    • because it serves to acknowledge trademark status; whether the reader decides to use ® or ™ when writing this term is up to them, but at least they are given that information
    • because (IANAL) it protects us from potential unpleasantness (that is, warning emails or even legal action) from holders of trademarks
    • because a word that is a trademark will not necessarily be a trademark in all its senses (again, IANAL, but isn't it the case that words that are created as trademarks use ® and those that already exist in the language use ™?)
    • because irrespective of the use of other notation in other languages (such as "MR" in Spanish) this is the English Wiktionary, and so Spanish trademarks would be marked as ® or ™ as appropriate
    Usage notes can give more information about the trademark, or, better still, refer the user to a page that describes how trademarks should (generally) be used (initial capital letters; use as adjective only; etc, with a suitable disclaimer that this is general information only and does not necessarily apply to any specific trademark).
    I've mentioned this before, but I think we need a disclaimer on the front page about our indication or lack of indication of whether words are trademarks does not affect the actual trademark status of those words; again, this would be to cover our backs against any legal action by trademark-holders. — Paul G 09:46, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  7. Symbol support vote.svg Support Ben 11:15, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  8. Symbol support vote.svg Support --Enginear 13:16, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  9. Symbol support vote.svg Support~
    This seems to be the closest to what real dictionaries do and I'm all in favour of Wiktionary at least trying harder to be a real dictionary. Also the wording is a trademark is too strong. Real dictionaries also have disclaimers stating that the presence or absence of such symbols does not state that the dictionary claims any such status for the word for legal reasons... or something like that. Anyway a word weaker than is may be better. — Hippietrail 16:29, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  10. Symbol support vote.svg Support EncycloPetey 21:58, 23 March 2007 (UTC) The discussion has convinced me that this has better potential for future use than hardcoding the symbol below the POS header.
  11. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Connel MacKenzie 19:10, 24 March 2007 (UTC) I'd prefer to emphasize a ===Usage notes=== section in conjunction or in preference to this. Does a preliminary {{trademark}} exist yet, to bicker over the wording there, and parameters? If this is going to be pushed as a replacement for all other forms, then I feel I must oppose. It is very unclear from the above, if that is the case though. If it is to become the "preferred" basic form, with Usage notes explicitly encouraged, that would satisfy my concern, and change my "oppose" to "support." --Connel MacKenzie 19:10, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
  12. Symbol support vote.svg Support Robert Ullmann 19:28, 24 March 2007 (UTC) and (3), I am basically concurring with Connel (see below)
  13. Symbol support vote.svg Support —Stephen 01:26, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
  14. Symbol support vote.svg Support Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
  15. Symbol support vote.svg Support Saltmarsh 07:00, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
  16. Symbol support vote.svg Support Tohru 11:37, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
  17. Symbol support vote.svg Support (as the default) Keffy 17:43, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Option 3[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support Connel MacKenzie 06:41, 23 March 2007 (UTC) This seems like the only method available to show who owns the mark. I imagine a ===References=== section can also be added, whenever an on-line lookup is publicly available? --Connel MacKenzie 06:41, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    Of what relevance is that to the meaning or usage of the word, though? If it has etymological importance, it can go in that section, but I'm not sure why that isn't encyclopedic clutter you're asking for. Dmcdevit 08:45, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    Connel, I think we can say that in the definition line, e.g. one definition for Mercury would read: "# {{trademark}} A line of luxury automobiles manufactured by the Ford Motor Company beginning in 1939." Presumably, the article would also have a link to the Wikipedia article on Mercury (automobile).
    Dmcdevit, I think that trademark status of a word is important for two reasons - first because it gives the reader a heads up that one of the word which might curtail other uses. If I see that one meaning of Janus is a trademark for mutual funds, I will do some deeper research before deciding to name my bank Janus bank. Second, because the strongest trademarks are arbitrary or fanciful terms. Nothing about the words Civic and Accord inherently bring up the idea of cars, but Honda invested a great amount in selecting those common words as names of car lines for the presumed marketability advantages they would bring. Acura is a completely made up word, but it was carefully crafted by marketers to invoke something that would reflect positively in the minds of consumers. bd2412 T 13:26, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    The examples you give would fail attestation, as far as I can see. Specifically, from CFI, "To be included, the use of a trademark or company name other than its use as a trademark (i.e., a use as a common word) has to be attested." I thought we were talking about common words like kleenex, xerox, AstroTurf, cotton swab, jacuzzi, etc. We're defining commonly-used words that hapen to be trademarked, not listing trademarked terms. So the trademark might by etymologically significant (the word entered usage based ont he popularity of the product), but otherwise, it's not important to the common usage of the term. Dmcdevit 17:46, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    Whether brand names should be per se included in the dictionary is the topic of discussion in the Beer Parlor. Our policy towards designating such terms is unrelated to our policy for including or excluding them. bd2412 T 18:29, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    • My question reworded: Shouldn't the template have a parameter for owner=? --Connel MacKenzie 16:03, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I don't see why it wouldn't - I would image we would be inclined to automatically link to the mark-owner's Wikipedia page (since any brand name appearing in Wiktionary would have to have an owner significant enough to be in Wikipedia). bd2412 T 16:17, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Are you thinking of a template like a {{plural of|, where the template defines the contents of the line? I was initially thinking of a template like {{slang}}, which basically just adds a category. I don't think a template excludes also having a usage note where one is really needed, but I wouldn't care to have a usage note for every single brand name. bd2412 T 19:56, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
      Yes, I'm thinking of something like the style of {{plural of}}. --Connel MacKenzie 16:08, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support DAVilla 19:47, 23 March 2007 (UTC) Being an international and multilingual dictionary, we're going to eventually need more than just a statement that the word is (possibly) a trademark somewhere in the world.
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Robert Ullmann 19:28, 24 March 2007 (UTC) in addition to (2), should definitely explain usage. xerox is a fine example, and would be w/o the symbol(s). Note that etymology is very important if there is a common word derived from the trademark.
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support Dijan 06:08, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
  5. Symbol support vote.svg Support (if #4 doesn't pass) Conflating trademark status and word usage/definition is not ideal, as #2 would do. I would prefer to put it in a different section than "Usage note," however (why not ===Trademark note===?) for the same reason, but that would complicate things at this point. Dmcdevit 06:33, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
  6. Symbol support vote.svg Support Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC) (-- Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC))
  7. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain (shading into Support). I don't think this should be the usual format. The kinds of additional information people are envisioning for a note (like who owns the mark and where) shouldn't be our job to worry about, and nowadays it's often changing so fast we couldn't keep up with it if we tried. But a usage note should definitely be an option for some cases -- where there's some interesting additional information, on genericized entries like realtor or band-aid, etc. Keffy 17:43, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
    Agreed. —RuakhTALK 20:51, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Option 4[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support. Can anyone tell me what relevance the trademark/copyright status has to the definition, usage, etc. of a word? It would seem to me to be an attribute of the concept the word represents (encyclopedic) and not the word itself. If it's not legally required, what's the point at all? —This unsigned comment was added by Dmcdevit (talkcontribs).
    The relevance is in usage. Just as slang etc. are pertinent in certain cases, the designation of a term as a trademark is important to individuals who need to note as much within their own writing. DAVilla 19:53, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
    Well, for one thing, trademarks do not translate into different languages. Translators always want to know when a word is a trademark, and therefore not to be translated. Many international products have different names in different languages, but in that case, the version in each language is also a registered trademark. —Stephen 01:25, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
    The trademarks we include, however, are common words. Generic names like xerox do translate, unless their meanings in other languages are subject to the same generic trademarked names. I wouldn't translate xerox to Spanish as xerox, but fotocopia, since xerox isn't a Spanish word (while that might be how the company calls itself in Spanish). Dmcdevit 20:05, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support. Widsith 18:17, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Connel MacKenzie 19:17, 24 March 2007 (UTC) This is perhaps the best option; we should not be promoting any commercial entities by reminding people of their brand-names.
    Connel, were you planning on striking your vote for Option 3, then? bd2412 T 19:22, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
    There aren't any instructions on the voting method. Is this not approval voting? DAVilla 18:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, but these options seem contradictory, and I wanted to be sure Connel had not intended to revoke his earlier vote in favor of this one. bd2412 T 19:04, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
    Sorry if my wording was misleading. I do not see my votes themselves as being contradictory; I was just explaining my rationale for each. I do not want this "support" vote to supersede any other vote I've cast here. --Connel MacKenzie 14:45, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
  4. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC) (Abstain from supporting or opposing this option. -- Beobach972 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC))
  5. Symbol support vote.svg Support H. (talk) 13:48, 27 March 2007 (UTC) Although I wouldn’t oppose usage notes and perhaps mention of the TM owner in the etymology, if appropriate. If this option does not win, I think 2 is the best solution.
  6. Symbol support vote.svg Support. I suppose it is too late now. Shame I missed this one as I know a lot about the subject, as I have very close contact with the OHIM or OAMI in Alicante, Spain. The lawyers who work there have told me that a dictionary entry will only get a trademark symbol if the trademark holder requests it. It is part of the legal requirement to maintain the trademark as private property and not allow it to escape into the public domain, as has happened with such marks as Hoover = vacuum cleaner and Singer = sewing machine. Algrif 18:18, 15 April 2007 (UTC)



  • I suppose I should close this - clearly option 1 is flat out, and option 2 has gotten the most support. Based on the above, I'm going to call it like this: if a word is a trademark or has a trademark sense, then the entry line will have a {{trademark}} tag, and the entry will say no more than "X is a trademark for Y owned by Z." Any additional information may be included in a usage note, or in the etymology if it relates to the origin of the term. bd2412 T 21:11, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

A list of users who voted in this vote:

  1. Algrif
  2. Beobach972
  3. bd2412
  4. Atelaes
  5. Connel MacKenzie
  6. DAVilla
  7. Dijan
  8. Dmcdevit
  9. EncycloPetey
  10. User:Enginear
  11. H.
  12. Hippietrail
  13. Keffy
  14. User:Littenberg
  15. Robert Ullmann
  16. Ruakh
  17. Saltmarsh
  18. —Stephen
  19. Timw.
  20. Tohru
  21. Widsith

Option 2 had 15 in favor, 5 abstaining, and 2 opposing. A ratio of 15 to 7 is better than a two-thirds supermajority, so this should have gone in support of Option 2. DAVilla 03:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

More accurately, it had 15 supporting, 2 explicitly opposing, and 5 4 implicitly opposing; but yes, that's a good point. —RuakhTALK 04:25, 17 August 2007 (UTC)


  • As of 2015, we don't use the format {{trademark}} exactly this way anymore, it has become a red link. What changed is that we have just {{context}} instead of individual topic templates, and also we always add the language code. Thus, currently, the way to show trademark status is: {{context|trademark|lang=en}}. --Daniel 11:16, 18 May 2015 (UTC)