Brand New World: Distinguishing Oneself in the Global Flow

19 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2014 Last revised: 17 Dec 2014

See all articles by Mario Biagioli

Mario Biagioli

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Anupam Chander

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Madhavi Sunder

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Ancient physicians engaged in property disputes over the seals they impressed on the containers of their medications, making brand marks the oldest branch of intellectual property. The antiquity of brand marks, however, has not helped their proper understanding by the law. While the conceptual and historical foundations of copyrights and patents continue to be part and parcel of contemporary legal debates, the full history and theorizing on business marks is largely external to trademark doctrine. Furthermore, with only a few and by now outdated exceptions, whatever scholarship exists on these topics has been performed mostly not by legal scholars but by archaeologists, art historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and historians of material culture. Such a striking imbalance suggests that the law is more eager to assume and state what trademarks should be rather than understand how they actually work today. Nor does the law often acknowledge the many different ways in which marks have always been deployed to distinguish both goods and their makers. This is not just a scholarly problem: given the extraordinary importance of brands in the global economy, the growing disjuncture between the way brands function in different contexts and cultures and trademark law’s simplified conceptualization of that function has become a problem with increasingly substantial policy implications.

Suggested Citation

Biagioli, Mario and Chander, Anupam and Sunder, Madhavi, Brand New World: Distinguishing Oneself in the Global Flow (2013). UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 2, December 2013; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 410. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2427975

Mario Biagioli (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

Anupam Chander

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Drive
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
530-754-5304 (Phone)
530-754-5311 (Fax)

Madhavi Sunder

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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