A trademark identifies the brand name of a product or company. It is
initially shown with a small ™ symbol and is later shown as ® once
it's been registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Have a Coke and a smile
The most famous trademark in the world belongs to Coca-Cola®.
Atlanta pharmacist and Civil War veteran John Pinkerton invented the
soft drink in 1886, but his friend and bookkeeper, F.M. Robinson,
gave the drink its name and designed the Coca-Cola logo. Coca-Cola
took its name from the fact that it originally contained cocaine
extracts as well as caffeine from the kola nut.
Coke made a big mistake by introducing New Coke in 1985, but they
made an even bigger mistake in the early 1900s when they turned down
an opportunity to purchase the Pepsi brand. You can't really blame
the people at Coke, though, because there were a large number of
small cola companies back then, and there was no way to know that
Pepsi would someday become its biggest competitor.
Get your kicks on Route 66
The employees of most companies can tell you the story of how
their company got its name, but most of the employees of Phillips
The story behind the Phillips 66 name has many possible
explanations. According to the book "Famous American Trademarks,"
these explanations include:
"Frank Phillips was
66 years old when he started the company." He was actually 44 at
"The 66 referred to
the octane level of the gasoline." The truth is that octane
ratings weren't adopted until five years later.
basketball team won by 66 points the night before the name was
chosen." The actual margin of victory was 18 points.
"The first Phillips
station sold 6,600 gallons of gas the first day." Nice try, but
it sold 12,000 gallons. Besides, wouldn't the company have
decided on a name before it opened for business?
[to top of second column]
So how did the company get its name?
The idea to use 66 in the name had been suggested earlier, but it
was rejected. It made sense, given the company's close proximity to
Route 66 and the fact that their "fuel gravity" was close to 66.
Eventually, a Phillips employee was testing the new fuel when he
remarked, "This car goes like 60 (miles per hour)."
The driver replied, "Sixty, nothing. We're doing 66."
Where did this happen?
Near Tulsa, on Route 66. Of course!
Federal Express® founder Fred Smith was a student at Yale in 1965
when he submitted a term paper for his economics class for his idea
of an overnight delivery service. He was a member of the highly
secret and highly selective Skull and Bones Club, the same club that
included President George W. Bush.
FedEx, which now delivers more than $20 billion in annual sales,
is the premier next-day package delivery company in the world. Like
Coca-Cola, its trademark is so well-known that it has become a
generic brand name.
As for its founder, Fred Smith, what grade did he receive on that
He got a C.
So even if your favorite brands include such little-known secrets
as having cocaine extract in its original formula or having the
origin of the company name remain unknown by its employees, or if
its business plan received a grade of C, the brand could
still do just fine.
Paul Niemann may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Paul Niemann 2007
[Text from file received
from Paul Niemann]