Velcro

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Velcro Industries
Privately held company
Industry Manufacturing
Headquarters Curacao
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products Hook and loop fasteners
Number of employees
2,500
Website www.velcro.com
This article is about a company. For other uses, see Velcro (disambiguation).
For discussion of the fastener, see Hook and loop fastener.

History[edit]

Velcro Industries is a privately held worldwide corporation manufacturing consumer and industrial products. Among them is a series of mechanical-based fastening products, including a brand of fabric hook and loop fastener often colloquially referred to by the company name, "Velcro". Their original patented hook and loop fastener was invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral, who patented it in 1955 and subsequently refined and developed its practical manufacture until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s.

De Mestral developed a fastener that consisted of two components: a lineal fabric strip with tiny hooks that could "mate" with another fabric strip with smaller loops, attaching temporarily, until pulled apart.[1] Initially made of cotton, which proved impractical,[2] the fastener was eventually constructed with nylon and polyester.[3]

De Mestral gave the name Velcro, a portmanteau of the French words velours ("velvet"), and crochet ("hook"),[4][5][6] to his company, which continues to manufacture and market the fastening system.

Trademarks[edit]

In 1958, de Mestral filed for a patent application for his hook-and-loop fastener in Switzerland, which was granted in 1961. Although this original patent has expired, Velcro Industries continues to develop new innovations in hook and loop fasteners, and secures intellectual property rights for them (cite). The company frequently uses the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system for international filings, and as of late 2010 has filed 134 PCT applications. The term Velcro is a registered trademark of Velcro Industries B.V.[7]

Ever since the original patent expired, Velcro Industries has relied on trademarks to build a brand name. The company protects its name through trademark registrations in all of the company’s major markets, such as a registration in the United States of America through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and internationally through the Madrid system. It also secures trademark registrations for all of its most popular products.

Because of imitators after the expiration of Velcro’s patent, the company has focused on its trademark strategy. To avoid the risk of the Velcro name becoming a generic term and thereby lose the distinctiveness necessary to maintain its trademark protection, the company always points out that there is no such thing as “Velcro,” and that the term is a company name not a product name. The company educates consumers through advertisements, product literature and marketing campaigns to get the message across that not all hook and loop fasteners are genuine Velcro brand products.[8]

Products[edit]

Velcro Industries provides fastening solutions for a wide array of industries, including consumer packaged goods, transportation, personal care, military, packaging, construction, apparel, and agriculture.

Products of the Velcro Industries include:

  • Textile Hook and Loop Fasteners and Closures
  • Plastic Hooks
  • Self-Engaging Hook and Loop
  • Adhesive Fastening Products
  • Converted and Fabricated Products

In popular culture[edit]

In the fictional universe of Star Trek, "Velcro" was invented by the Vulcans. In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Carbon Creek", a sample of "Velcro" is taken from a crashed Vulcan starship and given to a patent clerk to raise money for a teenage boy's college career. Also, one of the Vulcan crewmembers in that episode is named Mestral.

"Velcro" gained popularity in many new styles of use when, a 1984 interview between David Letterman and The Velcro Corporation’s USA director of industrial sales ended in Letterman jumping off a trampoline onto a wall while in a Velcro suit.[9]

In 1988 "Velcro" was mentioned in the comic-strip Peanuts. In the March 21 cartoon Sally brings a Praying Doll into school for "show and tell". The dolls hands are held together by "Velcro", which leads to the question if "Velcro" is mentioned in the New Testament.[10]

In 1992, "Velcro" was mentioned in the sitcom Seinfeld, episode "The Wallet", where Jerry's father, Morty Seinfeld, states that he hates "Velcro", due to the distinctive sound it makes when the two sides are being separated: "The Velcro! I can't stand Velcro! That tearing sound".

In 1997, Velcro was mentioned in the movie Men in Black, as a extra terrestrial technology given to humans.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Velcro". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  2. ^ Strauss, Steven D. (December 2001). The Big Idea: How Business Innovators Get Great Ideas to Market. Kaplan Business. pp. 15–pp.18. ISBN 978-0-7931-4837-0. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  3. ^ Schwarcz, Joseph A. (October 2003). Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 99 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life. Ecw Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-55022-577-8. Retrieved 2008-05-09. But not every Velcro application has worked ... A strap-on device for impotent men also flopped. 
  4. ^ "Velcro." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
  5. ^ Stephens, Thomas (2007-01-04). "How a Swiss invention hooked the world". swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  6. ^ "Who is Velcro USA Inc.?". Velcro. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  7. ^ "Invention of Velcro® Brand Hook and Loop". HookandLoop.com. Hook and Loop. Retrieved 4/30/2015.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "Hooked on Innovation". World Intellectual Property Organization. WIPO. Retrieved 4/30/15.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ Goodrick, Ryan. "Who Invented Velcro?". livescience. livescience. Retrieved 4/30/15.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ Charles M. Schulz, "The complete Peanuts 1987-1988", Fantagraphic Books, 2013, p192

External links[edit]