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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2018

Intellectual Property Law

Asymmetric stakes

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Trademark's Judicial De-Evolution: Why Courts Get Trademark Cases Wrong Repeatedly, Glynn Lunney Aug 2018

Trademark's Judicial De-Evolution: Why Courts Get Trademark Cases Wrong Repeatedly, Glynn Lunney

Faculty Scholarship

Trademark law has de-evolved. It has transitioned from an efficient mechanism for ensuring competition into an inefficient regime for capturing economic rents. In this Article, I focus on the role that party self-interest has played in biasing the evolution of trademark law. This self-interest tends to lead parties to (1) challenge efficient legal rules and seek to replace them with inefficient, anticompetitive rules, and (2) accede to inefficient, anticompetitive rules once they are in place. Almost by definition, when a rule of trademark law promotes competition, it reduces the market surplus or rents that current producers capture. As a result, …