A note about Transformers

In today's TF Classics Nemesis Prime review, yo pointed out that Hasbro always says the toys "convert" or "morph," never that they "transform." Know why they do that? To help protect their trademark.

When a particular brand-name becomes so identified with a certain product, that name can become a genericized trademark - the word you say when you mean the product, rather than the specific brand. For instance, if you need a band-aid, you probably don't care if someone gives you Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Strips or something else. When you find an error on your documents, you'll reach for whatever white out is handy, rather than worrying about finding BIC Wite-Out Correction Fluid. Then maybe you head over to Yahoo to google a site where you can buy rollerblades with velcro. You get the idea.

Anyway, to help prevent "Transformers" from undergoing genericide (how cool is that word?), Hasbro no longer refers to the process of converting them as "transforming," because that could open the door to anyone else with transforming morphing robot toys to label them as "transformers," as well. Of course, this rule just exists on printed material, like instructions or packaging text: that's why we don't hear Optimus Prime saying "Autobots, 'convert' and roll out!"

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