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, K39

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Date posted: May 7, 2010 ; Last revised: October 27, 2012

Suggested Citation

Burk, Dan L., Cybermarks (May 6, 2010). Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 91, 2010; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2010-11. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1601468

Contact Information

Dan L. Burk (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )
4500 Berkeley Place
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
949-824-9325 (Phone)
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