Dan L. Burk
University of California, Irvine School of Law
May 6, 2010
Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 91, 2010
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2010-11
The commercial development of the Internet has been punctuated with legal disputes over the use of trademarks as domain names, as metatags, as search terms, and as advertising keywords. As in previous disputes in copyright over the legal status of software, these Internet trademark disputes arise from the overlap of communicative and functional symbols in information technology. Such “cybermarks” are not merely indicators of product source, but function both as symbolic indicia for human recognition and as strings of computer code in the operation of automated search and indexing mechanisms. Application of trademark law’s functionality doctrine, perhaps with some modest amendment, could begin to resolve disputes over the use of cybermarks.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: trademarks, internet, metatags, Adwords, Google, functionality, intellectual propery, cyberlaw
JEL Classification: O31, O32, O33, O34, L86, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 7, 2010 ; Last revised: October 27, 2012
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