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Trademarks of Privilege: Naming Rights and the Physical Public Domain

Ann Bartow

Pace Law School

UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 40, p. 919, 2007

This paper critiques the branding and labeling of the physical public domain with the names of corporations, commercial products, and individuals. It suggests that under-recognized public policy conflicts exist between the naming policies and practices of political subdivisions, trademark law, and right of publicity doctrines. It further argues that naming acts are often undemocratic and unfair, illegitimately appropriate public assets for private use, and constitute a limited form of compelled speech. It concludes by considering alternative mechanisms by which the names of public facilities could be chosen.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: Trademarks, public domain, Lanham Act, naming rights, compelled speech

JEL Classification: K1, K2, K3, K4

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Date posted: April 20, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Bartow, Ann, Trademarks of Privilege: Naming Rights and the Physical Public Domain. UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 40, p. 919, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=981199

Contact Information

Ann Bartow (Contact Author)
Pace Law School ( email )
78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States
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