May 2, 2007

Editorial: Thou Shalt Not “photoshop”

cs3-icon.pngSource: Adorama
Written by Mason Resnick

If Adobe has its way, there will be no photoshopping allowed from now on. Photoshop, as Adobe correctly points out, is a registered trademark name and shoud be capitalized and accompanied by a ®m. It’s not a verb.

So, we can’t say “I photoshopped that image” but we can say “I enhanced that image using Adobe® Photoshop® software.” “Trademarks are nouns,” notes Adobe in its Incorporated Terms of Use page, and “Trademarks must never be used as slang terms.”

OK, what if you capitalize the name. Good? Nope. “Trademarks must never be abbreviated,” says Adobe. So, just plain Photoshop is out, Adobe Photoshop is in. Whoops, forgot the registered trademark symbol!

What’s going on here? Adobe is doing what it must to protect its brand name, based on the concern that once a brand-name is genericized, the trademarked item or company name loses some of its value in the marketplace. This concern is understandable, and certainly if a company is developing an Adobe Photoshop plug-in (for instance) proper usage is absolutely necessary.

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