2020 Volume 25 Pages 1-20
This paper discusses the theory of genericization of a trademark from a linguistic perspective. Genericization is a process in which a trademark, initially indicating a type of product or service by a specific provider, becomes a generic name for a category to which it belongs and unable to be recognized as a brand name of the provider. While it is judged by law whether or not this process occurs, this semantic broadening itself is a common linguistic phenomenon, into which linguistics has a potential to offer fruitful insights. This paper attempts to model the semantic change from a constructional-grammatical and usage-based perspective, taking up a genericized trademark escalator as an example. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a new interdisciplinary framework called “Trademark Linguistics” that not only contributes to a legal practice but also brings a new perspective to linguistics.