Back in 2003 I found myself in a San Antonio hotel conference room with several Texas band directors seated around a large table. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the use of SmartMusic in Texas schools, and many MakeMusic officers and employees were taking note of every word these music educators said.
At one point, band director Stephen Henry said: “All I do to make a SmartMusic file is create my piece in Finale. After I Finale it in, I export the file into SmartMusic. It’s that simple. “
Sean Lafleur, our former CEO, interrupted the conversation, “What did you just say?”
Stephen then repeated his statement but without the “Finale it in” phrase.
Sean replied, “No, that is not what you said. You said ‘Finale it in’ – you used Finale as verb.”
I think many of us had the same realization that day: Our software plays such a significant part in some users’ lives that it has begun to transform their language. From the perspective of our company, wouldn’t you think that was a good thing? I think we all did that day.
I’ve since learned that many brands (including Xerox, Kleenex, Velcro, Bandaid, LEGOS, and others) have gone to great lengths to PREVENT this from happening, including asking their customers, publications, and others to not use their product names in this way!
Apparently when a trademark becomes synonymous with the service it provides, or is genericized, the trademark loses certain legal protections, and competing companies can use the previously trademarked terms to describe their products. Many high profile trademarks have lost this protection; the list goes from Aspirin (originally a trademark of Bayer AG) to Zipper (originally a trademark of B. F. Goodrich).
At least that’s my understanding; I am no lawyer. To tell the truth, I haven’t done much more research beyond simply “googling” it. <g>
Personally, I’m tickled that Finale’s use remains so ubiquitous, but I am comfortable in sticking with the old-world verbs; I’m still adjusting to terms like “partnering” and “texting.” Ultimately it’s not what you call the act of using Finale, but what you do with it that matters. You know, a rose by any other name, and all that.
We’d love to hear about what you’re doing with Finale. Please share the details with us by clicking on “Comments” below.