Using the word ‘Xerox’ is illegal

Using the word ‘Xerox’ is illegal

The word Xerox has been an integral part of our lives, and arguably every individual might have used the word at-least once in his lifetime. Even photocopy stores have it printed on yellow background boards. In all this fuzz, what we forget is that we are breaching intellectual property while using the word Xerox, which is actually the name of a company.

Yes, that’s right … Xerox is a company. In fact, its the inventor of the Ethernet, thanks to which you and I can access the vast internet. Xerox Corporation is an American company and many inventions are attributed to it, including Ethernet as I mentioned before, the computer mouse, and also the idea of desktop computing. The company then shared these technologies with Apple and Microsoft. The home computer wouldn’t have been at its current level if Xerox hadn’t been in the picture.

However, the main reason why Xerox is known worldwide is its range of photocopy machines, and it was Xerox who invented the first commercial photocopy machine. Like all “firsts” in the industry, the name struck and became a synonym for photocopy itself.

Although being a term used in daily basis, Xerox is a name of a company and is therefore trademarked. This means, you cannot use the word “Xerox” for anything other than mentioning the company or its products. Xerox Corp. has been fighting against the usage of the word worldwide, and has attained a considerable amount of success. Their fear is that the word Xerox might be declared a generic word, which would make it trademark-free and hinder their business. Justifiable? Definitely!

As a result of their efforts, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) of India struck off the name Xerox from its list of generic words. The word actually existed as a generic word for almost 50 years on the board’s registers. However, we Indians continue to break the law every day, the main reason being that no one really knows about it!

It is therefore the time for a change. Try and stop using the word Xerox in your everyday life, and replace it with words “copy” or “photocopy”. Spread the word to as many people as you can. Remember – you’re breaking the law!

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