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July 06, 1979 - Image 13

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-06

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Formica trademark

The Michigan Daily-Friday, July 6, 1979-Page 13


WASHINGTON (AP) - If the well-
known trademark Formica is cancelled
by the government, other such product
names also may be challenged, says the
head of the Formica Corp.
Martin Friedman, president of the
firm that makes plastic laminated
countertops, said the Federal Trade
Commission's (FTC) challenge to the
Formica trademark is "clearly a test
The FTC, in a case pending before the
Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, is
trying to have the Formica name be
declared "generic," or describing a
type of product instead of just one
brand. Other former trade names that
now are generic include aspirin,
cellophane and escalator. More recen-
tly, Miller Brewing Co lost its ex-
clusive use of "light" to describe low-
calorie beer.
FRIEDMAN declined in an interview
to single out what other firms might
face the same challenge, but industry
observers have said other cases might
challenge such well-known names as
Xerox, Scotch tape, Coca-Cola, and
"We are fighting a case that has
ramifications in many different in-
dustries,"he said.
However, Paul Daw, director of the
agency's Denver office, which is
bringing the case, discouraged
speculation about future trademark
(Continued from Page 12
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by FTC
"THE COMMISSION has decided
only that there is reason to believe the
Formica mark has become generic in
its use. It would have to make a similar
finding about any other mark. We
would evaluate others, but it would not
occupy a great quantity of the com-
mission's resources," Daw said.
Trademarks are intended to identify
for consumers the source of the
product. Until the FTC's challenge to
Formica, the government generally let
companies fight out legal disputes over
who could usea trade name.
"Were they to strip us of the name,
the consumers are the ones who really
will be hurt," Friedman said. "If every
similar product is called Formica, the
quality will be hurt. There will be
tremendous confusion as to what you
will get if you ask for Formica."
THE FTC disputes this position. "We
have no problem with trademarks at
all," said Daniel Schwartz, the agen-
cy's No. 2 antitrust staffer. "But this
trademark has lost its special nature
because it has become generic.
"When you go into a hardware store
and ask for Formica, you probably
don't want any particular brand of
plastic laminate. But you will get For-
mica and, according to our survey, it
will cost you 25 per cent more than
other brands," Schwartz said.
Friedman countered that Formica
only has 40 per cent of the market in the
product it originated. He contended
that it is a highly competitive industry,
another position the FTC contests.
"ALMOST ALL of the product is
bought by professionals," he said,
referring to distributors, furniture
manufacturers, architects, designers
and others. "There is no question that
they know what they are asking for," he
The dispute may not be settled by the
trademark board. With the support of
Formica Corp., a Wayne, N.J. division
of American Cyanamid Co., efforts are
under way on Capitol Hill to block the
trademark challenge.
The House Commerce Committee has
approved legislation that would forbid
any FTC spending on the Formica case.

Jobs available for
n BE t hunEteKrs

uy sc nrr
Students looking for a summer job
in Ann Arbor probably will be able to
find one, although it may not be the
one most desired, said the super-
visor of the University's Temporary
Employment Office.
"Some students are having a
problem finding the right job for
themselves," Temporary Em-
ployment Supervisor Carolyn Nubes
said. "They can find a job if they're
not willing to set their preferences
too narrow and are persistent."
freshman and recent graduate of
Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School,
said finding a minimum-wage job is
relatively easy, but the problem in
Ann Arbor is finding a challenging
"In Ann Arbor, there are a lot of
people that have experience in har-
der things," he said. "I'd really like
something to do with computers
(but) all the labs have all the
assistants they need."
But Carol Midgely, a research
assistant in the Developmental
Psychology Lab, said her lab hired
almost everyone who applied,
although the lab's employees are
University students.
"WE HAVE hired a number of
people," she said. "We had some
spring, some summer, some both
spring and summer."
Nuber also said empoloyers
generally find it more difficult to fill
jobs with specific skill requiremen-
Campus Bike and Toy co-owner
Alice Plotner agreed with Nuber.
Plotner said although she has
received many calls for a
mechanic's job, none of the ap-
plicants had the necessary
"We're looking for experienced
mechanics - to get a young boy in
here takes two years to make him an
experienced mechanic," Plotner

ROB VOGT, a psychology
graduate student looking for a
summer research job, said the
greatest problem he has encoun-
tered is that most labs, which
usually pay more than minimum
wage, are looking for permanent
"I think permanent offerings are
more available in the summer - a
lot of offices are planning for fall and
trying to get people to fill these
"What we're trying to get is people
CPH r u P,-act Jo Ann
Prunty at H re p4H3
test. Ifintere
ands:0p.m. O}p +T'Cp
r7a t't. /,
Conservat i'ts tult
(Monday 5n0e?'5
Hehrew. 4e"n tt 9t ith at
Ann ' C tsotgarct,et .0O " c. fH0
asl'taddsJ ast00,ea O nohe 31H714
E+ cP, agsP ; a ,a-' . ciistudent.
, 0nec H0630
1uuur4 wtings Far
tty 29H629
who are going to be here in the fall,"
said John Meade, floor supervisor of
McDonald's. "We can't do anything
with applications just for the sum-
manager of the State Theatre, said
her theatre has no problems attrac-
ting summer help.
"As soon as you put the (help wan-
ted) sign up, they just flock in," she
Kowalski added that there is a
high turnover rate. "If you need
people you have to take what you
can get," said Kowalski. "Ann Ar-
bor is constantly changing."

Offers A Variety
Throughout the Summer Months
Stop by and check us out
-Monday evenings at 7:00 in the Richard Center Lounge
-Or, Sunday Services
-Or, pick up a chapel bulletin anytime.
We're located one block from campus at 331 Thompson Street

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