Peter, if a word is a generic term in a particular country, would that necessarily make it a generic term in the US?
You are just too damn smart
. That is a very good question. Trademarks are territorial in nature and, as such, are governed by the trademark laws of those countries that have such laws. However, I can imagine a scenario where a word that is considered generic in one country might not be considered generic under the laws of another country if used with the same spelling as in the first country. For example, in Albania the translation for "ice cream", which is a generic term in the U.S., is "akullore". Maybe someone could use that term as a trademark in the U.S. and acquire rights to its use. I just don't know the answer.
There are also marks that have protected status in some countries but have become generic in other countries. For example, trademarks that were once registered can become generic through abuse, misuse or failure to enforce. For example, the term Thermos was once a registered trademark that became generic in the U.S. but, as noted at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermos
, appears to still be a valid trademark in other countries.