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Intellectual Property Law

Confusion

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Confusion Isn't Everything, Mark Mckenna, William Mcgeveran Jan 2013

Confusion Isn't Everything, Mark Mckenna, William Mcgeveran

Journal Articles

The typical shorthand justification for trademark rights centers on avoiding consumer confusion. But in truth, this encapsulation mistakes a method for a purpose: confusion merely serves as an indicator of the underlying problems that trademark law seeks to prevent. Other areas of law accept confusion or mistake of all kinds, intervening only when those errors lead to more serious harms. Likewise, every theory of trademark rights considers confusion troubling solely because it threatens more fundamental values such as fair competition or informative communication. In other words, when it comes to the deep purposes of trademark law, confusion isn’t everything ...