Linguists are often called to testify about the meaning of words in legal contexts. In the last several weeks, Ben Zimmer has written on several situation where companies have tried to copyright language, including the use of the word “app.”
The deposition in the following link involves a similar situation: the use of a brand name as a generic, which is something that linguists pay attention to. The witness who calls this use into question is a government clerk, not a trained linguist, but he manages to skillfully avoid a lawyers questions by repeatedly asking one of the lawyers for clarification. Read the excerpt below. If you’re not rooting for the lawyer, it’s pretty funny.