How should I style brand names?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
The styling of brand names depends on whether they are trademarked. Always check the dictionary, which lists many brand names.
Trademarked brand names are capitalized but not italicized:
Note, however, that the dictionary may specify that a trademarked brand name, like Xerox, is lowercased when used as a verb:
I xeroxed the report for my supervisor.
When the dictionary indicates that a brand name (e.g., Dumpster, Windbreaker) has entered the language as a common noun, it is styled lowercase without italics:
We discarded the items in the dumpster.
When traveling to Chicago, I always pack a windbreaker.