In a series of classified ads posted in various dailies a few weeks back, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. issued a clear statement about the usage of their brand name. In response to their ‘Xerox’ name turning into colloquial nomenclature for ‘photocopy’ here in the Philippines, Fuji Xerox clarified that their name is a registered trademark and “its unauthorized use without permission of the trademark holder… is expressly forbidden by law.”
With the Japanese company having gone lengths to print out a classified ad in a local newspaper just to clarify that their name is “neither a verb nor a common noun,” we can feel the frustration from the people behind the popular photocopying device.
It says on their notice that the improper usage of the ‘Xerox’ name is forbidden by law, but what if a government office is in question of its improper usage? A photo of the instructions for ticket redemption and plate flearing from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s Traffic Ticket Management Division has surfaced on social media recently – and boy does it have several uses of the forbidden word in it.
Used thrice as a common noun on the Plate Clearing instruction sheet, somebody inside the MMDA clearly does not know the distinction between a common and proper noun. Mind you, a common noun is usually a generic item; in this case, a photocopy of documents. Xerox is a proper noun, only used to pertain to the specific brand of photocopiers created by Fuji Xerox Co.
This small blunder by the MMDA is of course a minuscule problem in the grander scale of problems with Metro Manila’s traffic, however we believe that correct grammar (and usage of such brand names) will go a long way with being taken seriously as individuals – let alone as a public office.
If the MMDA eventually gets a lawsuit from Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. regarding this matter, don’t shoot the messenger.