Nonproprietary names are intended for use in pharmacopoeias, labelling, product information, advertising and other promotional material, drug regulation and scientific literature, and as a basis for product names, e.g. for generics. Their use is normally required by national or, as in the case of the European Community, by international legislation. As a result of ongoing collaboration, national names such as British Approved Names (BAN), Dénominations Communes Françaises (DCF), Japanese Adopted Names (JAN) and United States Accepted Names (USAN) are nowadays, with rare exceptions, identical to the INNs.
Some countries have defined the minimum size of characters in which the generic nonproprietary name must be printed under the trade-mark labelling and advertising. In several countries the generic name must appear prominently in type at least half the size of that used for the proprietary or brand-name. In some countries it has to appear larger than the trade-mark name. Certain countries have even gone so far as to abolish trade-marks within the public sector.
To avoid confusion, which could jeopardize the safety of patients, trade-marks cannot be derived from INNs and, in particular, must include their common stems. As already mentioned the selection of further names within a series will be seriously hindered by the use of a common stem in a brand-name.