Does losing a trademark actually happen nowadays?

Who says it does? Trademark owners have a duty to defend only against conflicting uses in commerce.

You may mean you are going to use the Google search engine. For a whole lot of other people, it means they are going to type a couple of words in the search engine field of their browser, and they neither know nor care what search engine that connects to.

Not unless the corporate ethos of said company is want to terminal fuckwittage.

Or someone burning they dog. That, too.

In their 2010 April Fools prank, Google even poked fun at themselves regarding defending their copyright. The joke was that they’d changed their name to “Topeka” and they included a chart specifying proper usage of the term:

Green light = “Before our blind date I did a Topeka search on him.”
Yellow light = “Before our blind date I Topeka’ed him.”
Red light = “Before our blind date I topeka’d him.”
Absolutely forbidden = “Before our blind date I topeka’ed him with AltaVista.”

Trademark, not copyright.

Marvel Comics has always been protective of the name “Marvel” in comics. Fans think they were bullies for forcing Alan Moore to change the name of his “Marvelman” character to “Miracleman” for American publication, in spite of the fact that Marvelman had been around in vaguely similar form in the UK in the 50s and early 60s. (Marvel had successfully fought a similar lawsuit against National Periodicals over their “Captain Marvel” character in the 70s, despite that character’s prior use of the name since 1939). Why? The Marvel name has measurable value. Back when sales figures were publicly available in the late 70s, DC’s top-selling titles were outsold by Marvel’s worst-selling books. Yes, Ghost Rider and reprints of Sgt. Fury sold better than Batman and Superman. (This continued until New Teen Titans by Wolfman and Perez, a DC book, sold on par with the most popular Marvel books but still ran a close second to X-Men.) When the same handful of freelance writers and artists were working for both companies, substantially identical books differed only in that the Marvel logo was on one and not the other. That kind of brand loyalty is worth protecting, even if a beloved writer like Alan Moore gets steamrolled in the process.

Xerox once had a commercial where the announcer stated that Xerox is a trademarked name only to be used in reference to Xerox products. There was a pause, then sarcastic clapping and a few people blandly saying “yay.” It really screamed of “we have to do this.”

My band logo looks like the Jack Daniels design. If we ever get to a point where someone notices and we get a cease and desist letter, I’ll consider myself successful! I’ll let you know if it happens!

This. It’s similar to why we have adverse possession for land. You want to make sure that things of value aren’t tied up forever in non-productive uses. Say a thousand years from now, after the nuclear wars, someone thinks that Pepsi is a cool name for a soda drink, or even Bla;jdadsf Cola. Should the new company have to worry that at any time some guy will trace his genealogy back a thousand years and find that he is the rightful owner of the trademark and shut down the new business?

No. Under the current system, he only has to search back 20 years, and he will be in the clear. There’s nothing magical about a trademark except that it prevents confusion in the minds of consumers. If no company is using that trademark, then there is no confusion and no societal need to protect it in perpetuity.

Actually, under the Lanham Trademark Act, a trademark is considered abandoned if there is no proof of use in commerce for a period of three years.

And here’s someone who agrees with my assessment that Jack Daniel’s, if it has any kind of a trademark claim, has a very weak claim. I still don’t think it’s infringing. The linked blog post, in fact, asserts that the Daniels letter is not a “cease-and-desist” letter at all, because it never alleges any kind of legal claim.

I used to compose logic puzzles for a magazine. To make them distinctive, I used Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc and Bashful consistently as my seven targets.

I checked on the publication once and discovered all the names had been changed. (Moreover, my stories involved, e.g. the Dwarves’ hilarious experiences in traffic court and that was all changing to buying lampshades or something, traffic court apparently offensive to bad drivers or someone.) I complained to the editor and was told Disney had too many lawyers.

For my next puzzle, I went with Walter Ditzy and the Seven Lawyers: Savage, Churl, Nasty, Greedy, Knotty, Rankled and Snide – but that didn’t fly either.

That reminds me of a story: Back in the mid-90s I was working for a company that was making one of the first car GPS navigation systems. A co-worker was creating a map of Florida for this system. As a nice touch he wanted to put a little picture of Mickey Mouse at the location of Walt Disney World. He wrote to the Disney company asking for permission. He told me that he got a response from them: “Not just no, but HELL NO.”