Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Hårvård ? Harvard? Harvard®

Hårvård  Harvard  Harvard®  rah rah rah

Hårvård is Swedish for "hair care" -- with nearly a million (link) web mentions. But Swedes commonly drop their Swedish characters when using internet, substituting the Latin alphabet's "a" or "o" for Swedish letters å and ä or ö.

Swedes may laugh if visualizing a hair care university, but there's no true confusion with the great US institution of higher education. Trademark lawyers might salivate if imagining their billing for reconciling "easily confused" terminology. But it's the merchants, lawyers & private interests who deliberately infringe on our common heritage by re-purposing keywords and trading on generic goodwill.

It's a topic to lampoon, but language becomes tricky when generic words clash with multi-billion dollar trade names. Apple® Inc. uses the imagery of an apple - a conscious choice. Maybe the industry wonks now feel the humble fruit infringes on their business? An apple for the teacher has become more expensive.