Sure, Photoshop risks becoming a genericised trademark that way … think Escalator, which was once a trademark. Genericized trademarks are a boon and a problem because, once it's wormed its way into the lexicon far enough, courts have ruled that it can't be protected as a trademark.
So how can this help Photoshop maintain its market share? I think it’s simply a matter or prevalence. The applications’ name has developed into a verb because it is so widely used and known. Designers use it. Artists use it. Photographers us it. Its fame has become so widespread that it has actually trickled out of these circles and into the public discourse in a way that none of Adobe’s other offerings have.
How many of your non designer friends would know what Illustrator is? InDesign? Flash might be a bit more well known, but probably more as a product that is experienced on the internet rather than an application for building rich, dynamic and interactive content.
That's not an automatic assumption one can make, however. xeroxing has not quite gotten that far; Xerox, I believe, is part of a campaign to remind authors and editors that its trademark (amongst others) is still not considered sufficiently genercised, and to please say photocopy instead.
But people have been photoshopping instead of image editing for a while now and, as long as Adobe keeps an active informational campaign up to remind the public, they'll probably be okay legally. And they'll keep all that sweet sweet mindshare!
- Read the article at MyInkBlog: http://www.myinkblog.com/2010/05/11/one-unexplored-reason-why-photoshop-wont-be-dethroned-anytime-soon/
- Read about genericized trademarks at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark
- There's an article at the ABA Journal about Xerox's battle against its own genericide here: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/xerox_enlisting_hollywood_in_fight_against_genericide_with_ad/
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