The Corner

Way Cool

Every issue of NR is packed with great stuff. The current issue, however, has one item that soars above everything else: a letter from Richard F. Zamboni. Yes, he is one of those Zambonis, and he’s on our team:

On Thin Ice

I have been a subscriber to National Review since at least 1971. Your publication not only was the first, but continues to be what I consider the finest, source of conservative thoughts and ideals.

That said, it concerned me — as I eagerly leafed through the March 8 issue to read one of my favorite columns, Mark Steyn’s “Happy Warrior” — to discover that with a flick of his deft pen Mr. Steyn had seemed to relieve our family company, which makes ice-resurfacing machines, of a long-held trademark by declaring its name, “Zamboni,” a generic noun.

For more than 60 years, the Zamboni brand name has been a valuable trademark, and we diligently protect it. Like “Coke,” “Kleenex,” and “Jeep,” “Zamboni” has a close identity in the public mind with a particular type of commodity — but please remember: A trademark is always an adjective, never a generic noun. “Zamboni” is the brand, and “ice-resurfacing machine” is the generic product name.

Richard F. Zamboni

President, Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.

“I Wanna Drive the Zamboni” is one of the most-played songs on my iPod, thanks to those early-morning drives to hockey practice.

I hope Steyn has sent a groveling letter of apology.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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