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2001

Intellectual Property Law

Aesthetic design feature

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...