A Skeptical View of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act

13 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2008

See all articles by Robert G. Bone

Robert G. Bone

University of Texas School of Law


The Trademark Dilution Revision Act ("TDRA"), adopted in October 2006, was the result of an almost two-year campaign to overturn the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc. This brief essay takes a critical look at the TDRA. It argues that while some of the TDRA provisions are improvements, the statute as a whole represents a setback for American trademark law. By signaling congressional interest in shoring up dilution liability, the TDRA opens the door to more aggressive judicial application of the statute and broader interpretation. A stronger Section 43(c) threatens to sever trademark law from its policy moorings and send it in directions that risk high social costs. The problem with the TDRA, and the original Section 43(c) that it amends, is the same as the problem with dilution law more generally. Dilution, and especially dilution in its blurring form, lacks a coherent policy foundation. The lack of clear normative direction gives particularly wide latitude to industry groups to influence the legislative process in ways that serve their private interests at the expense of the public interest.

Keywords: dilution, federal anti-dilution statute, Section 43(c), trademark law, Trademark Dilution Revision Act

JEL Classification: K11, K39

Suggested Citation

Bone, Robert G., A Skeptical View of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act. Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 07-36, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1081339

Robert G. Bone (Contact Author)

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
512-232-5562 (Phone)
512-471-6988 (Fax)

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