Is Ping Pong A Trademarked Name
Last modified: October 13, 2023
Introduction: The Connection Between Ping Pong and Trademarks
Ever wondered why you’ve heard the name ‘Ping Pong’ thrown around as freely as the little celluloid ball during a high-intensity match? You’re not alone. The terms ‘ping pong’ and ‘table tennis’ are used synonymously but as we travel down the memory lane of these recreational sports, it’s interesting to note there’s a lot more to these names than initially meets the eye.
The Origins of Ping Pong and the Trademark Drama
The story of Ping Pong commences in England during the late 19th century. Originally, it was the sound that the ball produced as it ricocheted off the wooden paddle that named the game ‘ping- pong’, a term quite descriptive and catchy.
The Birth of the Name ‘Ping Pong’
The game was played informally under various names such as ‘Gossima’, ‘Whiff-Whaff’, but it was ‘Ping Pong’, registered as a trademark by the sports equipment and toy company, J. Jaques & Son that prevailed. The term ‘ping pong’ was thus coined, and an immensely popular sport given a rather quirky, fun moniker.
Table Tennis – A Different Name for the Same Sport
As ‘Ping Pong’ was a registered trademark, companies who wished to exploit the game’s newfound popularity needed a different name. And so, ‘Table Tennis’ was born. It was a practical name – after all, it described the sport perfectly – a game of tennis, on a table.
Evolution of the Term over Time
Over time, ‘Ping Pong’ transitioned from being a proprietary term to a common one. Think of other brand names that we use so commonly that we almost forget it’s a brand, like Kleenex or Tupperware. That said, ‘Ping Pong’ remains a legal battleground in some regions with J. Jaques & Son Ltd. maintaining its claim over the name.
Modern-Day Confusion – Ping Pong Vs. Table Tennis
In the current scenario of recreational sports, where does this leave the use of ‘Ping Pong’ or ‘Table Tennis’? Even though both names refer to the same sport, it might surprise you how often these terms are used interchangeably.
In a Casual Setting
In the casual setting of game rooms, the terms ‘ping pong’ and ‘table tennis’ are used interchangeably. Most of us are not aware of the trademark implications and simply use the term we’re more accustomed to.
The Formal Setting
In a more competitive scene, however, ‘Table Tennis’ is the standard denomination. Probably because it sounds less playful and more like the Olympic sport it has been since 1988.
The game’s governing body, the International Table Tennis Federation, does not recognize ‘Ping Pong’ as an official term although the battleground over the name continues in various areas. For instance, in the US, ‘table tennis’ is promoted to set it apart from the trademarked ‘ping pong’.
Conclusion: What’s in the Name?
Whether you call it ‘table tennis’ or ‘ping pong’, fundamentally, it’s a game of skill, speed and strategy, providing endless fun and excitement for the players and spectators alike. The quirky ‘Ping Pong’ or the formal ‘Table Tennis’, they both refer to the joy of seeing that tiny ball whizzing back and forth – an entertaining pastime as well as a globally recognized sport. So, remember the next time someone questions the name, just hit ’em back with this little bit of trivia and then go ahead and enjoy your game!