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Gunfight At The Xerox Corral

July 2024
1min read

In “Marks for the Marketplace: The Curious World of the Trademark,” which appeared in our October, 1977, issue, author Gerald Carson outlined the deadly serious corporate view of those who violate, however innocently, proper usage of trademark names: “Many firms have standard letters ready to be sent when necessary to writers, the distributors that handle their merchandise, the general public, and lexicographers, thanking them politely for their interest in the product but chiding them for sinning against the law of trademarks.”

We prefer the response of the Xerox Corporation, as reflected in the text of one of its recent magazine advertisements:

“Dust was the color of the sky.

“Dust was the color of the town.

“The young sheriff moved toward the railway platform, pausing only to wipe his moist palms on his holsters.

“He watched the Union Pacific engine hurtle around the bend and screech to a clanging, hissing stop. Silently, the Dalton boys swung from the train onto the station platform. Suddenly the sheriff found himself staring down the barrels of three shotguns. The street behind him was empty but for the dust.

“There was no turning for help.

“As his hands crept slowly toward his gun belt he knew he had to say it now or forever hold his peace. A crooked smile played about the corners of his mouth, as he drawled, ‘Boys, I want you to hear me and hear me good. Just remember, that Xerox is a registered trademark of Xerox Corporation and, as its brand name, should be used only to identify its products and services.’”

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