Dima Basma, ‘Dilution Versus Unfair Advantage: Myths and Realities’

Recent developments in the commercial marketplace have rendered the classification of trademarks as mere tools for remedying information asymmetry and assuring quality inaccurate. The value of trademarks as communicative tools has increased, and they are now being used by their owners to transmit images, value propositions and associations to consumers in order to drive purchases. However, while this new function of trademarks is a reality that can hardly be ignored, finding a convincing normative justification to legally support its integration into the trademark system remains problematic. Thus, building on the normative justifications advanced by the European Union (EU) to justify extended trademark protection, this paper evaluates the dilutive harm theory, including blurring and tarnishment, in addition to the misappropriation rationale. The paper reviews EU case law in this respect and sheds light on the current muddled state of law in dealing with extended trademark protection. Based on this analysis, the paper offers a workable framework which can be utilized by courts to address cases related to modern trademark functions. The paper concludes that the misappropriation rationale should be the principal ground for extending trademark protection, and that harm resulting from blurring and tarnishment should act as an ancillary for misappropriation claims.

Dima Basma, Dilution Versus Unfair Advantage: Myths and Realities, IIC – International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law (2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s40319-021-01116-z. Published: 21 October 2021.

First posted 2021-10-28 18:00:38

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