When it concerns lip hydration, the words “lip balm” and also “ChapStick” are often used interchangeably. While these two deserve to be offered with the same meaning in specific contexts, in many cases, the word “ChapStick” is being supplied incorrectly, yet only ~ above a literal sense. In a legal and also technical sense, however, here’s why it’s also correct.

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What does that mean? Here’s the difference between lip enjoyment vs. ChapStick.

Lip Balm

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Calling Burt’s Bee’s lip enjoyment “Burt’s Bees ChapStick” is choose calling L’Oreal corrector concealers “L’Oreal CoverGirl.” It’s a brand name, for this reason literally speaking, the wouldn’t make feeling to usage a brand surname to describe a product in general.

Legally and technically speaking, however, here’s why people continue to usage “ChapStick” together a basic term – and also why they’re correct.

Generic Trademarks

In the people of trademarks, there’s a term that’s known as “generic trademarks.” These room trademarked brand name that, due to their popularity, the general public has started using to refer to the product or company in general, despite what the original manufacturer wanted as soon as they brand the brand name.

For example, look at at this words: cellophane, escalator, upper and lower reversal phone, mace, onesies, popsicle, realtor. They could seem prefer generic words come you, however these words in reality were once or still room trademarked by carriers as their very own product or service. However, these to be “genericized” because these acquired so renowned as day-to-day items that people accepted them as the generic term the the item. Eventually, companies just either offered up the trademark or continue to hold the trademark and also let the term be genericized (which method their competitors can likewise use the term) yet hold specific intellectual residential or commercial property rights.

ChapStick was not the only lip balm that to be available, however the fact that it to be the very first recorded instance of sold lip balm way that it to be pretty popular when the Mortons properly marketed it outside of their hometown. So, it’s no surprised that, come this day, people refer come lip balm simply as “chapstick” due to the fact that it’s what was popular throughout its time.

For a similar example, it’s prefer when world ask photocopier technicians, “Hey, have the right to you Xerox this because that me?” accurate speaking, this shouldn’t make sense because Xerox is the surname of the firm that do the photocopier. There space plenty of non-Xerox brand photocopiers in the market, however somehow, Xerox’s copiers became popular and also so plenty of refer come the act of copying documents as “xerox.”

Another one is when you reduced your skin and also ask, “Does anyone have a band-aid?” accurate speaking, uneven someone specifically has Johnson & Johnson’s Band-Aids, then nobody should offer you one, even if lock do have adhesive bandages – the generic term for Band-Aid. But due to the fact that the name became so popular, the public just accepted it together the generic name for adhesive bandages.

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There are plenty of instances like this. In the ’70s and also ’80s, Lego firm practically begged children and also adults to speak to their playthings “Lego blocks” and also “Lego toys” and also not generalize all their products to simply be recognized as “Legos.” but they ended up being so famous that as soon as other companies likewise produced toy structure blocks, these were additionally called “Legos.” companies couldn’t stop the public native calling their products “Legos,” but because of Lego’s popularity, they definitely did nothing to change it.


Literally speaking, ChapStick is a kind of lip balm, and also lip balm deserve to refer to all assets used come treat lip dryness. However, thanks to share trademarks and also the public genericizing the hatchet “chapstick,” ChapStick ended up being a ax for any kind of lip enjoyment made in a pipe form. While it’s technically no correct, generic trademarks permit you to usage the term freely, for this reason you’re technically no wrong through calling various other brands’ tubed lip enjoyment “chapstick.”