The Illegitimacy of Trademark Incontestability

71 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2011

See all articles by Kenneth L. Port

Kenneth L. Port

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; William Mitchell College of Law

Date Written: 1993

Abstract

The concept of incontestability in American trademark law has caused great confusion ever since its adoption as part of United States trademark law in 1946. This Article is first a study of the rational basis for incontestability in American trademark law. The role of incontestability in the larger regime of American trademark law is established in order to understand incontestability as it fits within the history of the common law of trademarks. This is fundamental in order to understand the significance of the thesis that incontestability is illegitimate. Next, acquisition of incontestability is presented in order to show how simple it is to attain incontestable status and to put in perspective the resulting advantages. This also demonstrates the fact that incontestability is a radical departure from the common law of trademarks. This Article concludes with an analysis of trademarks themselves as property. Because the concept of incontestability was adopted without reference to the common law, and because it attempts to create property rights in a trademark itself, this Article concludes that incontestability is jurisprudentially illegitimate and should be repealed.

Keywords: Intellectual property, Lanham Act, trademarks

Suggested Citation

Port, Kenneth L., The Illegitimacy of Trademark Incontestability (1993). Indiana Law Review, Vol. 26, 1993; William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1748702

Kenneth L. Port (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mitchellhamline.edu/biographies/person/kenneth-l-port/

William Mitchell College of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mitchellhamline.edu/biographies/person/kenneth-l-port/

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