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Trademark Infringement, Trademark Dilution, and the Decline in Sharing of Famous Brand Names: An Introduction and Empirical Study


Robert Brauneis


George Washington University - Law School

Paul J. Heald


University of Illinois College of Law

August 20, 2010

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 510
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 510
UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-15

Abstract:     
This article provides an introduction to the study of brand-name sharing, and presents results from an empirical study of sharing rates among 131 famous brand names from 1940 through 2010, conducted through an examination of business names in the white pages telephone directories of Chicago, Philadelphia, and Manhattan. Perhaps the most dramatic finding of the study is that independent uses of the 131 brand names – that is, uses of those names by businesses other than those that made the names famous – have declined from 3000 to 1380 between 1960 and 2010, a 54% drop. The article then assesses potential causes for that decline. We evaluate five potential non-legal factors, including economic changes, family migration, decreased attractiveness of particular famous brands, changes in the popularity of business name types, and changes in cultural naming patterns. It then considers evidence that changes in trademark infringement and dilution law underlie some part of the decline. The article concludes that both legal and non-legal factors have likely played a role.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

Keywords: trademark infringement, trademark dilution, empirical, statistics, famous trademarks, well-known trademarks, dilution, brand names

JEL Classification: L8, M3

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Date posted: August 23, 2010 ; Last revised: October 16, 2010

Suggested Citation

Brauneis, Robert and Heald, Paul J., Trademark Infringement, Trademark Dilution, and the Decline in Sharing of Famous Brand Names: An Introduction and Empirical Study (August 20, 2010). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 510; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 510; UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-15. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1662623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1662623

Contact Information

Robert Brauneis
George Washington University - Law School ( email )
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
Paul J. Heald (Contact Author)
University of Illinois College of Law ( email )
504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
706-372-2567 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.illinois.edu/faculty/profile/PaulHeald

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