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"Buff" question for native English speakers

2020 Camino Guides

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
It's a bit like saying Biro (ballpoint pen) about a pen that isn't made by Biro, or Sellotape when it's another brand of sticky tape ... seems silly to me, but there it is. Other words you could use are snood, neck warmer, headband, probably lots more. Why have they reacted though, do they keep an eye on even a small forum shop?
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
“Buff” has become a “common” noun.

A common noun is an item that’s also a trademark but used by many to describe something.

For instance a Jeep. Jeep is a car company. However, when I use the word jeep I am describing a certain type of car.

I am fairly certain you can use the word to sell the item without trademark infringement.
 
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ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Check to see if “buff” has become a “common” noun. A common noun is a trademark that has become a way to describe something. For instance Jeep. Jeep is a car company. But, when I use Jeep to describe a car, a certain type of vehicle comes to mind.

If so you can use the word in your description trademark or no.
Thanks.... I guess since I do not live in an English speaking country I am not sure if it is "a common noun" or not. For me personally it is, but for the general population? Not sure..
 

Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
Hi Ivar:

It may be multi purpose head/neck protector.
Hope it helps.

Iván
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Does anyone subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary or similar, and can look up 'buff' to see if it's gone generic?
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Here in the UK we call all vacuum cleaners 'hoovers', even when not built by that company. I call all them neck warmer thingies buffs too.

Very surprised the company picked up on your forum shop, maybe they employ somebody to google 'buff' and see what comes up.

I just googled 'what is a buff' and got this:

"BUFF originally refers to the B-52 Stratofortress long-range strategic bomber. The enormous aircraft was extensively used for carpet bombing missions in Vietnam and as a first-strike or retaliatory strike nuclear weapon delivery vehicle during the cold war. The crews rarely referred to the aircraft with its real name, instead they used the acronym BUFF, for Big Ugly Fat F*******"

Crikey, you learn something new everyday!

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC (by train) 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
The use of the word "buff" for an item of clothing startled me when I first encountered it. In my American corner of the English-speaking world, "buff" -- as "in the buff" -- is a euphemism for going without clothing altogether.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Words can be trademarked. Trademarks are one of the three main kinds of intellectual property (the other two being copyright and patents). Once a word is trademarked, it can't be used for a similar product so as not to cause confusion for the consumer. It is what prevents me from opening up a fast food restaurant and calling it McDonalds with golden arches and making people think that they will be getting the "real" McDonalds.

That said, there is a long history in English of trademarked product names being used for the whole class of products. Many people say "kleenex" for any facial tissue or "lego" for any modular plastic building block toy. This can change over time or by region. I'm told that in some parts of the United States, "coke" is used for any carbonated non-alcoholic beverage and at one time "xerox" was common as a noun for photocopier and a verb for photocopying. Companies can lose trademarks. Lego lost the trademark on its building blocks and managed to keep it on its minifigures. One of the things that can help companies keep trademarks is to defend them so that they are (a) only used with permission and (b) only used for their products so that they don't become ubiquitous terms for the category. I suspect that this is what the "Original Buff" company is trying to do.

Some things to consider are whether they have trademarked "Original Buff" or "Buff" or both. If they haven't trademarked "buff" by itself, you are probably safe. Going by "Original Buff" sort of implies there are other similar things that are called "buffs", after all. If they have, you might want to ask them what you should be calling this class of products. When Lego was aggressively (if unsuccessfully) defending its trademark on the building blocks it was telling people to call them "Lego building blocks" rather than legos. That let people know that the class of items was "building block" and the brand was Lego, much as the class of item for Kleenex is facial tissues.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
“Buff” has become a “common” noun.

A common noun is an item that’s also a trademark but used by many to describe something.

For instance a Jeep. Jeep is a car company. However, when I use the word jeep I am describing a certain type of car.

I am fairly certain you can use the word to sell the item without trademark infringement.
Respectfully, I would disagree. Although it may be common, everyday use to say the word in association with a like product, selling another similar product using the same name has a legal distinction. For example, in North America it is very common to call any facial tissue a Kleenex, however Kleenex is a registered brand with patents so anyone else selling facial tisues could not call their facial tissue a Kleenex but rather would have to come up with their own unique name which in turn they would patent and register.

In this case I suppose one could look at patents/registered names of similar products to ensure you don't walk out of one fire directly into another. A quick google search shows patents held for similar products such as Neck Gaiter, Neck Warmer and more making this a more challenging task than first appears.

1565271149125.png
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Respectfully, I would disagree. Although it may be common, everyday use to say the word in association with a like product, selling another similar product using the same name has a legal distinction. For example, in North America it is very common to call any facial tissue a Kleenex, however Kleenex is a registered brand with patents so anyone else selling facial tisues could not call their facial tissue a Kleenex but rather would have to come up with their own unique name which in turn they would patent and register.

In this case I suppose one could look at patents/registered names of similar products to ensure you don't walk out of one fire directly into another. A quick google search shows patents held for similar products such as Neck Gaiter, Neck Warmer and more making this a more challenging task than first appears.

View attachment 62213
Ohh... so someone has "Neck Warmers" trademarked? So that will not work then...
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
The item in question has been around for over 100 years - The German Army called them "Toques", the British "Headovers".
The Spanish company "re-invented" them a long time ago - I've got one that's at least 20 years old (and a veteran of my first Camino) and registered the trade name Buff. I can see their point - there are a lot of copycat version around and it must be galling for Buff to see not only the garment copied but to have their "how to wear" illustrations stolen.
I don't think anybody would approve if Ford started selling cars called "Mercedes" (which is a popular girl's name)!
My vote is for "Headover"
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
"A neck gaiter, also known as a neck warmer or a buff, is an article of clothing worn about the neck for warmth. It is a closed tube of fabric, often thick fleece, merino wool, synthetic wicking, or knit material, which is slipped on and off over the head". Wikipedia

Neck Gaitor? Multi-functional Headwear? But I think neck warmer should be ok though.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Respectfully, I would disagree. Although it may be common, everyday use to say the word in association with a like product, selling another similar product using the same name has a legal distinction. For example, in North America it is very common to call any facial tissue a Kleenex, however Kleenex is a registered brand with patents so anyone else selling facial tisues could not call their facial tissue a Kleenex but rather would have to come up with their own unique name which in turn they would patent and register.

In this case I suppose one could look at patents/registered names of similar products to ensure you don't walk out of one fire directly into another. A quick google search shows patents held for similar products such as Neck Gaiter, Neck Warmer and more making this a more challenging task than first appears.

View attachment 62213
Ooh.

Did not take that last step in thought.

Excellent point.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Smart and easy way out, Ivar. Doubt that anyone wants to defend rights to 'neck warmer'. And you are Camino Neck Warmer.

You can always wait until you get a 'Cease and Desist" order!!

Dontcha love the concept of intellectual property!!
Dontcha hate the idea of coming up with a good idea and a dozen or so companies ripping you off o_O
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
There's a brand in Facebook advertising an identical product and they don't use the name Buff (where are they when you need it? I can't find the ad anymore!)
Icebreaker has also their tube scarf and call it 'chute' (Apex Chute and Flexi Chute)
Other names I've heard for this type of accessory are
• tube scarf
• snood (big warm knitted ones)
• infinity scarf (the very long ones)
• multi-use sport scarf (very descriptive!)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.
If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?)
For the European Union, it's https://euipo.europa.eu . Original Buff S.A. is a Spanish company with headquarters in Barcelona. They have several registered trademarks on name and logo. The trademark number for the word is 009201856.
 
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Redhead Keith

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francé: 2005: 2016
Inglés: 2017
Salvador: 2018: 2019
Primitivo: 2018: 2019
“Can I see you in the buff wearing just your buff whilst you buff-up the silverware and may I say you are such a buff when it comes to your particular expertise, but why do you look such a buff colour? You exercise so much your body is really buff!”
You shouldn't have to research the ownwership - ask for the company's name and trade register and if he's just 'bluffing' then they won't get back to you. If you just check their website it should be clear on their product lists if there is a copyright on the product - but 'snood' was suggested which sounds kool. How about asking for suggestions from members as to a good 'Camino' name then you can own and use that?
May I suggest 'Snock' - between 'sock' and 'neck' - I don't want royalties, but perhaps our fellow members have a suggestion? -BUT get the one you chose Trademarked - copyrighteded.
Alles gutte und Buen Camino. K
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Tube scarf sounds quite descriptive. This is a common issue, even for every day things like "velcro". From a linguist forum I often visit, I get


neck gaiter
neck gator
I do not think you can trademark things like "neck warmer" in two words, it should be safe enough, maybe somebody registered "NeckWarmer" or something like that, but there is a limit to what you can register.

I would definitely go "neck gaiter" or "neck warmer",

 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
just go for neck warmner or neck gaiter, the worst case scenario is, they might ask you to change it again, no problem!
 

Texas Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017 summer)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
You could try neck gaiter too. (I see this has lready been suggested.) Remembering to Capitalize the official brand name stuff might also help...where did they register it as a trademark? 'Cause "representatives" may be going off of a different nations rules, and it sounds like you should see if there is a lawyer in your family that can and will answer some questions for you.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
The term is protected here in Australia for Class 25 items - Ready-made clothing for external and internal use; handkerchiefs (not included in other classes), caps, footwear (except orthopedic footwear) and headgear; all the aforesaid excluding products made from buffalo leather. The term also appears in a number of other listings on the IP Australia search engine.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The use of the word "buff" for an item of clothing startled me when I first encountered it. In my American corner of the English-speaking world, "buff" -- as "in the buff" -- is a euphemism for going without clothing altogether.
The guy from Catalonia who created the brandname Buff, is quoted as saying that he made up the name and it's derived from bufanda which means scarf in English.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
It seems the Spanish Scouting Association calls them a "bandana tubular"
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Ohh... so someone has "Neck Warmers" trademarked? So that will not work then...
I could not find a listing for this term on an IP Australia search, which would indicate that there might be patent protection for a particular product, but not trademark protection for the term. There are a number of protected terms containing the word 'warmer' but not 'Neck Warmer' or 'Neck Warmers'.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
“Buff” has become a “common” noun.

A common noun is an item that’s also a trademark but used by many to describe something.

For instance a Jeep. Jeep is a car company. However, when I use the word jeep I am describing a certain type of car.

I am fairly certain you can use the word to sell the item without trademark infringement.
Common sense would say so, but there is an entire community of intellectual property lawyers, enough to populate the Francese from Sarria, who would say otherwise, and there are many many cases on this. My quick reading of Canadian law would substantiate Ivar's position, but Ivar is in Spain! European Community law and domestic Spanish law would rule here. Best to change the name!
 

freeflyer123

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
English speaker here and I was intrigued with the question because, until now, I hadn't even heard of a Buff. When I read some of the suggestions of what you could call it, I then realised that it was indeed a Snood, or Neck Warmer or Head Scarf - all words I am familiar with 🤣.
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
Native speaker and occasional language teacher here.

Buff is, I'm pretty sure, the trade name for a snood. Just as Coke is a trade name for a cola.

Snood is the name UK English speakers are most likely to know I think.
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
I am changing everything to "Camino Neck Warmers"... that should do it..
First, I completely understand Buff's position. That said, I think your replacement choice, particularly the word "warmers", communicates the item is for cooler weather and may limit your sales. I've used Buff's (yes, the original) since the company first started and for thousands of miles on my feet and two wheels in every imaginable weather condition as well as for a plethora of other purposes (for example during my Camino I ripped mine in half to make a tourniquet for a pilgrim in a medical emergency). Ivar, perhaps "Multi-Functional Head/Neck wear" would be a more encompassing description? By the way, thanks for all you do for the pilgrim community.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
More descriptive would be 'multipurpose neck warmer.'
Adding the 'multipurpose' makes it clear what you're talking about.
Snood, et all are words only some people will be familiar with.
 

Nana6

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
France ( 2020)
I am changing everything to "Camino Neck Warmers"... that should do it..
I would say Camino neck / head protectors.
A quick search on Amazon showed the Buff brand but many said scarf, headwear.
If I go into a store in the US and asked for a buff, I will be shown different brands.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I wouldn't call it a neck warmer, as many people wear them dampened in water in the summer as a neck cooler. I have seen similar products advertised as "neck gaiters". I think that multi-purpose tubular head and neck scarf would be a good description.
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
Hi Ivar,

I’ve heard it referred to as a “neck gaiter” when futbol players wear them on chilly evenings.
In some parts of the world, the word “buff” is indeed a trademark when referring to a certain brand of neck gaiter.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
Paul
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
looks like it is a generic and in much to general use and with variable meanings to be trade-marked to me: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/buff

I guess there was no one around with sufficient interest to challenge the original trade-mark application though it probably should have been rejected. Otherwise some bugger will eventually TM shoes, boots and underpants.

Take the Capitalisation out or transliterate to "boeuf" ;)
 

FSP

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC 2013
Porto - Finisterre Coastal&Variant 2016
Irun-Muxia 2018
Primitivo (2020?)
How about not using an english word for them, maybe cabeza de cocodrilo. I find it kind of catchy and as a North American I would definatley want to be seen in a cabeza de cocodrilo.
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar

Buff is a Spanish / Catalan company.

The item is called neck warmer or - cooler.
 

Bert45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo
I would not say that "buff" is a common noun. I have never heard of an item of clothing described as a "buff" in all my 70+ years. Although many people call any vacuum cleaner a "hoover", they would be put right by Hoover if they ever described a vacuum cleaner other than a Hoover as a hoover. You can see why if there was a headline such as "Toddler killed by hoover", or "House destroyed in fire started by hoover". It is my belief (correct me if I'm wrong) that you cannot trademark everyday common words. So I could not trademark "Spade" or "Fork", but I could trademark "Spayd" or "4k". Although "buff" is an everyday common word in English, it is not so in Spanish, which is presumably why "Original Buff" could trademark it in Spain.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
You won't find tissues that are not Kleenex advertised as Kleenex, vacuum cleaners that are not Hoovers advertised as Hoovers, or hook and look tape that is not Velcro advertised as Velcro, despite the fact that these words have passed into common usage. Buff is a trademarked name, so you cannot advertise something that is not made by Buff as a Buff.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Otherwise some bugger will eventually TM shoes, boots and underpants.
I think that the horse has bolted on this. In the US there are 214 live trademarks containing the word 'buff', and in Australia 163 instances where a term containing 'buff' is currently protected. The EU IPO site isn't responding right now, so I would be guessing on how many trademarks containing the work have trademark protection there.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I had never heard the word "buff" used to describe neck clothing until that Spanish company came along. If it is true that they created this unique usage, maybe they can protect it. If they tried to copyright the name "Buff" for a polishing cloth, (to "buff" shoes, for example) it could be different.

I favour the term "neckwear."
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPP2Santiago completed (Sept.15, 2018).
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
...Buff is the official name. I bought several of the Camino Buffs/love 'em. Could you call it "Buffy". A bit tongue and cheek 🙄 I liked the other suggestion Neck Warmer also.
 

K Turner

One step at a time
Camino(s) past & future
14 August 2019 (SJPdP 16 August)
I knew them as "neck gaiters" before coming here. If I didn't know what they were called I would probably try to search for them with the term "tube scarf," or something similar.

Maybe "multifunctional tube scarf" etc?
 

Jbirk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
Via Francigena Sept (2018)
Del Norte Aug (2019)
They are sold as “tube bandanna” in a number of places.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Does anyone subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary or similar, and can look up 'buff' to see if it's gone generic?
Not in OED 2nd Edition 2009 it hasn't ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: Ponferrada - SdC (October 2017)
Frances: SJPdP - SdC (9th April 2020)
Whatever you settle on (I know them as tubular scarfs), you have original buffs alongside that'll keep your SEO happy.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I'm not a native English speaker so I won't express an opinion on the chosen "neck warmer", let alone on the proposed "snood". I just note that both of the Spanish suppliers to the forum shop use braga cuello which apparently would translate as neck warmer but they also opted for an English description for their products, and one of them uses neck gaiter and the other went for bandana-headwear.

I've been using my original buff from the Original Buff company for nearly two decades - it's sadly approaching the end of its life now - and I rarely hike without it. I agree with others that "neck warmer" isn't ideal since in particular in Spain I rarely use it to warm my neck. It's a bandana / head scarf to keep hair in place and sweat away from my eyes, fully covers my head and neck when it's windy or cold, covers my mouth and nose when the environment stinks, and stays around my wrist when I don't need it. In short, it's a buff.

Apparently, the innovative Catalan company tried to get a patent (and even held a patent for Spain for a while) but it was not possible. They obviously also produce buffs with Camino designs.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I had never heard the word "buff" used to describe neck clothing until that Spanish company came along. If it is true that they created this unique usage, maybe they can copyright it. If they tried to copyright the name "Buff" for a polishing cloth, (to "buff" shoes, for example) it could be different.

I favour the term "neckwear."
But you can wear them as a hat!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
They wrote to me with the same a year or so ago. In my Ebay shop I invented a new name "the Neckie" and changed my title to "Neck tube - the Neckie - not by Buff" so I say it isn't by Buff but it still appears in search engines and they have left me alone now.
Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
maybe they can copyright it. If they tried to copyright the name "Buff" for a polishing cloth, (to "buff" shoes, for example) it could be different.
They coined the name Buff in Spanish for Spain and perhaps didn't expect to operate worldwide eventually so they didn't take the potential meaning of the word in the languages of future markets into consideration :). They trademarked the name only after they expanded beyond Spain and imitators appeared on their markets.

I see that someone proposed Cabuff. This would be absolutely hilarious in Germany (an important market for buff like products) because they have the word Kabuff which sounds exactly the same. 😂
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (29/09/2019)
It's a Camino buff so why not call it a Cabuff 🤠
I see that someone proposed Cabuff. This would be absolutely hilarious in Germany (an important market for buff like products) because they have the word Kabuff which sounds exactly the same. 😂
Entschuldige! too late I'm in process of registering the domain and as soon as I return from Ca-bluffing (oops meant ca-buffing) my Camino I'm going to apply for a German trademark 😜
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
How about Scarf tube or tube scarf
 
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MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
Look up 'in the buff' in the various on-line dictionaries and wonder how and why someone was able to trademark buff!


🤓🤓🤓
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
They wrote to me with the same a year or so ago. In my Ebay shop I invented a new name "the Neckie" and changed my title to "Neck tube - the Neckie - not by Buff" so I say it isn't by Buff but it still appears in search engines and they have left me alone now.
Hope this helps.
Pretty much what I was going to suggest.

My shop sells this multifunctional neck gaiter. It is similar to the one sold by the Original Buff company but also has a few additional uses that they do not advertise.

Leave it at that or add in a few uses such as torniquet, thigh warmer, hiking pole cleaner, hand towel, etc.
 

Viggen

Vigo
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2015
CP June 2017
Del Norte, Finisterre / Muxia Oct 2017
VDLP 2018
VF, SBP to Rome 2019
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
Here is the description on Amazon,
Outdoor Wide Wicking Headbands Men Women Seamless Headwear Tube Bandana Face Mask Magic Scarf for Backpacking Running Yoga
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
A bandana,an ascot,a savant,a kerchief,un beneficio
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Buff has many meanings in English - from nakedness to a colour!

Bandana is obvious - or a Savant,an Ascot,a kerchief.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I believe I used the word "original" when describing the Buff that I offer through your resources section:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/camino-buff.80/
as it is an original Camino de Santiago design but produced by the Buff company for us.

Interesting to note that the Buff company started producting their own Camino de Santiago designs after I had ordered about 4 different times a batch of 50-100. I would be curious to know if my orders had anything to do with their decision.
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
It isnt a bandana, clearly not ... so not wise to name it something it isnt. Ditto with some of the other names.

I have one .... a camino one, which I wore a lot.

All of my friends referrred to it as a snood. My hiking friends used the word 'buff' as they knew the Proper Noun used for the brand-name.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
I like the word "bandana." Conjures up the concept of being outdoors, and a free-spirit, at least I believe, in American english. How about "Camino Infinity Bandana." No one has mentioned the popular "infinity scarf" which has gained a lot of popularity in the US, and is a round, tubular scarf. I think the words gaiter and warmer, like someone above said, implies that it is meant for winter, when lots of folks use buffs for sweat. Or perhaps, "Camino Infinity Scarf."
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
This thread will go on forever I think :D:D:D

You can't call it a bandana - because that is a clearly defined product, typically square in shape that can be tied around the head, used as a hankerchief etc.

A buff is not like this. Someone ordering a bandana and getting a buff would be well within their rights to return the product.

Snood is listed in the dictionary as 'a wide ring of knitted material worn as a hood or scarf', which acurately describe this product.
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Hola all,

I have a strange question.... it is regarding the word "Buff". What I mean is the clothing that one puts over ones head, like a scarf, but sown into a circle. Many of you have used it on the Camino I am sure.

I sell them on my store, but today got a message from a representative of the "Original Buff" company saying that I could not use the word buff to describe any product that is not made by them. That they had registered it as a trademark.

If this is the case (I need to look this up, is there a way to do this?), what could I use as a description for this piece of clothing? I thought it was "Buff"... much like t-shirt is a t-shirt. Since English is not my first language, I ask here.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Ivar
Maybe "Buff" with an upper-case B is a trademark, but surely "buff" with a small 'b' isn't?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I think someone might have picked this up above, but I can't find it.

I was issued with a 'headover' in the British Army in the 1980s. It's a warmer version of a buff.

It's pretty clear that they didn't invent the concept, but they certainly own the trademark.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
It's pretty clear that they didn't invent the concept, but they certainly own the trademark.
They explain on their website to all who want to know that the guy who developed the Buff was a passionate motorcyclist who used his braga militar / army neck warmer for his rides but it was not enough to keep the cold away. So he finally came up with the solution that brought success: a garment without seams and made of microfiber.

I mean, I could sew or knit myself a snood anytime but it wouldn't be as good and useful as the real thing. 🙃
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I believe I used the word "original" when describing the Buff that I offer through your resources section:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/camino-buff.80/
as it is an original Camino de Santiago design but produced by the Buff company for us.

Interesting to note that the Buff company started producting their own Camino de Santiago designs after I had ordered about 4 different times a batch of 50-100. I would be curious to know if my orders had anything to do with their decision.
I bought a custom Buff from a Canadian lady about 7 years ago and nobody, at that time, could understand why a Spanish company hadn't spotted the potential - what did yours look like? Looked back - it was the "Beverley Buff" ;)
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
...passionate motorcyclist who used his braga militar / army neck warmer for his rides but it was not enough to keep the cold away.
It’s fair to assume the the Spanish army anticipates better weather than the British!

My issued item is suitable for full-on winter, has no seams and is a two-sided smooth/fluffy garment in a fetching shade of green.
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (29/09/2019)
Interesting to note that the Buff company started producting their own Camino de Santiago designs after I had ordered about 4 different times a batch of 50-100.
Interested to know if one of these in pic is one of your original designs? 🤔
 

Attachments

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
It’s fair to assume the the Spanish army anticipates better weather than the British!

My issued item is suitable for full-on winter, has no seams and is a two-sided smooth/fluffy garment in a fetching shade of green.
They also do a summer weight one now in a similar material to a Buff - you can have them in green, green or sand!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
All of this talk about Buffs has led me to dig out the collection:

Camino 2001.jpg

2001 SJPP to SdC

Camino 2003.jpg

2003 SJPP to SdC

Camino 2012.jpg

2012 Pamplona to SdC

Camino 2015.jpg

2015 Porto to SdC

Camino 2016.jpg

2016 Pamplona to SdC

Camino 2018.jpg

2018 Camino Ingles . . . er I've actually stopped using the Buffs, a wetted cotton bandana fits under my Tilley hat much better!
 

Henry B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
Try
Infinity scarf
or
Neverending Scarf
in your promotional
You will get lots of hits and probably the general reaction will be

Oh! A snood

or

Oh! A buff

AND A SALE!!!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
looks like it is a generic and in much to general use and with variable meanings to be trade-marked to me: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/buff

I guess there was no one around with sufficient interest to challenge the original trade-mark application though it probably should have been rejected. Otherwise some bugger will eventually TM shoes, boots and underpants.

Take the Capitalisation out or transliterate to "boeuf" ;)
You can trademark words that are in wide use, just not when they are in wide use for your particular kind of product. Then people can continue using them as they have without infringing on your trademark, just as someone opening McDonalds Auto Shop won't be infringing on McDonalds restaurants.

None of the example you provided infringe on the trademark. The Original Buff isn't selling muscles and the trademark granted that was quoted in an earlier post specifically excluded garments made of buff leather, so it doesn't overlap with the Mirriam-Webster definition.
 

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