Dilution as Unfair Competition: European Echoes
Intellectual Property at the Edge: The Contested Contours of IP, Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss and Jane C. Ginsburg, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2014
21 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013 Last revised: 23 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 7, 2014
This response to Barton Beebe explores whether contemporary experience in Europe supports the central arguments advanced by Beebe in The Supressed Misappropriation Origins of Trademark Antidilution Law. The development of E.U. law is largely consistent with the idea that dilution law is in part an effort to install a misappropriation regime, at least insofar as the objects of protection are trademarks with a reputation (increasingly, a smaller caveat as the scope of potential trademark subject matter expands and the reputation threshold falls). This has important local consequences: if dilution law is in truth is a law against misappropriation, the Court of Justice of the European Union has greater scope to contribute to the creation of a nascent European law of unfair competition. But examining recent European case law also suggests that understanding misappropriation as part of a broader system of unfair competition may moderate the formalist critique of misappropriation as wholly indeterminate and unlimited. Understood in its unfair competition milieu, a misappropriation-based concept of dilution retains some potential for measured delineation of the edges of protection.
Keywords: trademark, dilution, Schechter, misappropriation, unfair competition, unfair advantage, formalism
JEL Classification: K19, K20, K29, K33, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation