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Full-Text Articles in Law

Comparative Analysis Of Innovation Failures And Institutions In Context, Mark Mckenna Jan 2019

Comparative Analysis Of Innovation Failures And Institutions In Context, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Many different legal and non-legal institutions govern and therefore shape knowledge production. It is tempting, given the various types of knowledge, knowledge producers, and systems with and within which knowledge and knowledge producers and users interact, to look for reductionist shortcuts — in general but especially in the context of comparative institutional analysis. The temptation should be resisted for it leads to either what Harold Demsetz called the Nirvana Fallacy or what Elinor Ostrom critiqued as myopic allegories.

We suggest that comparative institutional analysis must be accompanied by comparative failure analysis, by which we mean rigorous and contextual comparative analysis …


Trademark Use Rides Again, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2019

Trademark Use Rides Again, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

Back in 2007, the Iowa Law Review published a dialogue between Graeme Dinwoodie and Mark Janis, on the one hand, and Stacey Dogan and Mark Lemley on the other. The topic was "trademark use," and the question was whether such a doctrine really exists. Dinwoodie and Janis said no-that while only commercial use of a trademark can be considered infringing, there is no threshold requirement that the plaintiff prove that the defendant has used the mark in some particular "trademark" way. Dogan and Lemley said yes—that some "uses" of a mark simply don't trigger liability, and a court needs to …


Claiming Design, Mark Mckenna Jan 2018

Claiming Design, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Design stands out among intellectual property subject matter in terms of the extent of overlapping protection available. Different forms of intellectual property usually protect different aspects of a product. In the design context, however, precisely the same features are often subject to design patent, trademark, and copyright protection-and parties commonly claim more than one of those forms. Yet, as we show, the claiming regimes of these three forms of design protection differ in significant ways: the timing of claims; claim format (particularly whether the claims are visual or verbal); the multiplicity of claims (whether and how one can make multiple …


Criminal Trademark Enforcement And The Problem Of Inevitable Creep, Mark Mckenna Jan 2017

Criminal Trademark Enforcement And The Problem Of Inevitable Creep, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

This Article, delivered as the 2017 Oldham Lecture at the University of Akron School of Law, focuses on the federal Trademark Counterfeiting Act (TCA), the primary source of federal criminal trademark sanctions. That statute was intended to increase the penalties associated with the most egregious form of trademark infringement — use of an identical mark for goods identical to those for which the mark is registered and in a context in which the use is likely to deceive consumers about the actual source of the counterfeiter’s goods. The TCA was intended to ratchet up the penalties associated with counterfeiting, but …


What's In, And What's Out: How Ip's Boundary Rules Shape Innovation, Mark Mckenna, Christopher J. Sprigman Jan 2017

What's In, And What's Out: How Ip's Boundary Rules Shape Innovation, Mark Mckenna, Christopher J. Sprigman

Journal Articles

Intellectual property law sorts subject matter into a variety of different regimes, each with different terms of protection and different rules of protectability, infringement, and defenses. For that sorting to be effective, IP needs principles to distinguish the subject matter of each system. This paper focuses on one of the most important aspects of border-drawing that our IP system undertakes — identifying “useful” subject matter.

This aspect is critical because our IP system gives utility patent law pride of place and draws the boundaries of the other doctrines in large part to respect utility patent’s supremacy. Yet IP law’s sense …


Trademarks And Digital Goods, Mark Mckenna, Lucas S. Osborn Jan 2017

Trademarks And Digital Goods, Mark Mckenna, Lucas S. Osborn

Journal Articles

Technology increasingly allows for digital distribution of goods that once might once have been offered in physical form, radically separating the design and production processes. That separation has potentially destabilizing consequences for trademark law, which overwhelmingly has been oriented toward indications of the origin of physical goods. For one thing, digitization brings much more of trademark law into contact with the Supreme Court's Dastar decision, raising difficult questions about whether, and under what circumstances, digital files count as “goods” for Lanham Act purposes. More broadly, a world of increasing digitization implicates concerns about the boundaries of trademark law vis-à-vis other …


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. Yet …


Back To The Future: Rediscovering Equitable Discretion In Trademark Cases, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2010

Back To The Future: Rediscovering Equitable Discretion In Trademark Cases, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

Courts in recent years have increasingly made blunt use of their equitable powers in trademark cases. Rather than limiting the scope of injunctive relief so as to protect the interests of a mark owner while respecting the legitimate interests of third parties and of consumers, courts in most cases have viewed injunctive relief in binary terms. This is unfortunate, because greater willingness to tailor injunctive relief could go a long way to mitigating some of the most pernicious effects of trademark law’s modern expansion. This Essay urges courts to reverse this trend towards crude injunctive relief, and to re-embrace their …


Testing Modern Trademark Law's Theory Of Harm, Mark Mckenna Jan 2009

Testing Modern Trademark Law's Theory Of Harm, Mark Mckenna

Journal Articles

Modern scholarship takes a decidedly negative view of trademark law. Commentators rail against doctrinal innovations like dilution and initial interest confusion. They clamor for clearer and broader defenses. And they plead for greater First Amendment scrutiny of various applications of trademark law. But beneath all of this criticism lies overwhelming agreement that consumer confusion is harmful. This easy acceptance of the harmfulness of confusion is a problem because it operates at too high a level of generality, ignoring important differences between types of relationships about which consumers might be confused. Failure to differentiate between these different relationships has enabled trademark …


Trademark Use And The Problem Of Source, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2009

Trademark Use And The Problem Of Source, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

This Article mediates a scholarly debate regarding the existence and desirability of a "trademark use" doctrine. It argues that trademark use is a predicate of liability under the Lanham Act, but those who advocate treating trademark use as a threshold question put much more weight on that concept than it can bear. Courts cannot consistently apply trademark use as a distinct element of the plaintiff's prima facie case because trademark use can be determined only from the perspective of consumers. Specifically, courts can determine whether a defendant has made trademark use of a plaintiff's mark only by asking whether consumers …


Teaching Trademark Theory Through The Lens Of Distinctiveness, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2008

Teaching Trademark Theory Through The Lens Of Distinctiveness, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

This contribution to the annual teaching edition of the Saint Louis University Law Journal encourages teachers to begin trademark law courses using the concept of distinctiveness as a vehicle for articulating producer and consumer perspectives in trademark law. Viewing the law through these sometimes different perspectives helps in approaching a variety of doctrines in trademark law, and both perspectives are relatively easy to grasp in the context of distinctiveness.


The Normative Foundations Of Trademark Law, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2007

The Normative Foundations Of Trademark Law, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

This paper challenges the conventional wisdom that trademark law traditionally sought to protect consumers and enhance marketplace efficiency. Contrary to widespread contemporary understanding, early trademark cases were decidedly producer-centered. Trademark infringement claims, like all unfair competition claims, were intended to protect producers from illegitimate attempts to divert their trade. Consumer deception was relevant in these cases only to the extent it was the means by which a competitor diverted a producer's trade. Moreover, American courts from the very beginning protected a party against improperly diverted trade in part by recognizing a narrow form ofproperty rights in trademarks. Those rights were …


The Right Of Publicity And Autonomous Self-Definition, Mark P. Mckenna Jan 2005

The Right Of Publicity And Autonomous Self-Definition, Mark P. Mckenna

Journal Articles

Legal protection against unauthorized commercial uses of an individual's identity has grown significantly over the last fifty years as it has relentlessly pursued economic value. It was forced to focus on value because a false distinction between the harms suffered by private citizens and celebrities seemingly left celebrities without a privacy claim for commercial use of their identities. But the normative case for awarding individuals the economic value of their identity is weak, since celebrities do not need additional incentive to invest in either their native skill or in developing a persona. Still, while the prevailing justification is inadequate, as …