The Protection of Non-Conventional Trademarks
In recent years, new types of signs have knocked on the door of trade mark protection. Colors, smells, sounds, moving images, have claimed that, alike more traditional signs such as denominations, logos, images, they too can fulfill the distinctive function of trade marks.
After heated discussions and controversies, courts, IP offices and lawmakers have welcomed this expansion of the scope of trade mark right.
Critical questions still remain though, such as the impact of such protection on freedom of competition or on other socially valuable uses of such signs, the market advantage enjoyed by holders of those non-traditional trademarks, and the risk of an ever-expanding trade mark field where everything under the sun could potentially be registered for someone’s exclusive benefit.
In view of the forthcoming publication of a collection of essays on non-traditional trademarks (Oxford University Press, 2018), Irene Calboli, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law, and Martin Senftleben, Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the two editors of the book and recognized trademark experts, will, along with other speakers, provide an overview of the debate and issues surrounding such trademarks.
Conclusive remarks by Jane Ginsburg, Professor of Law, Columbia University.
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