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Free Riding and Famous Marks
Network for Intellectual Property Law Conference (2011)
  • P. Sean MORRIS, University of Helsinki

Assimilating the three main branches of intellectual property law (that is copyrights, patents and trademarks) with economic theory has seen a burgeoning field in the past two decades. Ultimately, this burgeoning field interacts with the judicial process of all areas of intellectual property law and the courts are often relied on to settle contested infringement cases. The courts, in turn – turns to economic evidence and survey to assist in their judgements to settle bitterly contested cases of intellectual property infringements. Within the area of trademark law, the courts often rely on surveys to rule that a mark can be registered where it has acquired distinctiveness. For upstart (small companies) to gain market entry and recognition, they often rely on the informational purpose of more established marks to compare their business or services and in some cases to "free-ride" on the reputation of well known trade marks. It is this latter aspects, free-riding on well known trade marks that is not often pursued in the discourse on trademark law and how (if any relation) trademark law has with antitrust law. And as such, the purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of free-riding in trademark law and the implications for antitrust law and trademark owners. The goal is to capture how much harm has free riding caused to trademark owners and whether such harm can (or should) be rectified by antitrust law.

  • Trade Marks,
  • Free Riding,
  • Famous Marks
Publication Date
Spring April 7, 2011
Citation Information
P. Sean MORRIS. "Free Riding and Famous Marks" Network for Intellectual Property Law Conference (2011)
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