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July-August, 2010 Vol. 100 No. 4 Back to TMR Main Page
 
New-School Trademark Dilution: Famous Among the Juvenile Consuming Public
 
 


EDITOR’S NOTE:
The Trademark Reporter® is pleased to publish in this issue the two articles that won 2010 Ladas Memorial Awards. Leah Chan Grinvald, who is an Assistant Professor of Law at St. Louis University School of Law, was the winner of the Professional Award. Alexandra J. Roberts, a student at Yale Law School, was the winner of the Student Award.

The Ladas Memorial Award is jointly funded by the law firm
of Ladas & Parry LLP and the International Trademark
Association, and is awarded yearly in honor of Stephen P. Ladas, who was a distinguished trademark lawyer and author who made significant contributions to the field of intellectual property law. The principal purpose of the Ladas Memorial Award is to enhance the understanding of international trademark law and to thereby foster a greater interest in the field of trademarks.

Student Award-Winning Article:

New-School Trademark Dilution: Famous Among the Juvenile Consuming Public
by Alexandra J. Roberts

The recently enacted Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 recalibrated the degree of fame necessary to garner protection: the TDRA applies only to a mark “widely recognized by the general consuming public of the United States as a designation of source of the goods or services of the mark’s owner.” By privileging those major players who succeed in turning their brands into household names, the TDRA strengthens incentives for mark-owners to ensure their logos and brand names are well-recognized not only among adult consumers, but also among children.
 
This article examines a set of marketing behaviors aimed at children that the TDRA’s revised fame standard both reflects and rewards. Deeming fewer marks famous may serve the immediate purpose of creating a higher bar for plaintiffs to successfully bring dilution claims, but that bar should be set at age twenty-one to avoid rewarding firms for making loyal consumers out of teenagers, tweens, kids and even infants.
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