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Trademark Law, Functional Design Features, And The Trouble With Traffix, Harold R. Weinberg Jan 2001

Trademark Law, Functional Design Features, And The Trouble With Traffix, Harold R. Weinberg

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

This article concerns trademark law's functionality doctrine and the Supreme Court's troublesome opinion concerning it in TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc. The doctrine provides that if a producer's useful or aesthetic design feature is "functional," then competitors can lawfully copy it even if the feature otherwise would be protected against copying by trademark principles. In order to introduce the functionality doctrine and the trouble with TrafFix, it is helpful to describe the nature of design features, the simultaneous roles they may play as source-identifying trade symbols and as useful or aesthetic product elements, and trademark ...


Introduction: From Sheet Music To Mp3 Files—A Brief Perspective On Napster, Harold R. Weinberg Jan 2001

Introduction: From Sheet Music To Mp3 Files—A Brief Perspective On Napster, Harold R. Weinberg

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The Napster case is the current cause celebre of the digital age. The story has color. It involves music-sharing technology invented by an eighteen-year-old college dropout whose high school classmates nicknamed him "The Napster" on account of his perpetually kinky hair. The story has drama. Depending on your perspective, it pits rapacious big music companies against poor and hardworking students who just want to enjoy some tunes; or it pits creative and industrious music companies seeking a fair return on their invested effort, time, and money against greedy and irreverent music thieves. And the case has importance. Music maybe intellectual ...