Trademark Goodwill as a Public Good: Brands and Innovations in Corporate Social Responsibility

41 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2016 Last revised: 29 Jul 2017

See all articles by Margaret Chon

Margaret Chon

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: 2017


Powerful brands dominate our transnational landscapes. Brand value — referred to in law as trademark goodwill — is co-created by trademark owners and the consumers of their products and services. Commonly defined as all possible sources of consumer patronage, trademark goodwill is critically important not only for business ability to attract and retain customers, but also for its regulatory capacity to signal process characteristics such as environmental impact or labor standards. This Article focuses on the role of trademark goodwill in signaling sustainability standards as key informational components of corporate social responsibility. In this view of trademark goodwill, brands potentially provide highly public platforms for interaction by firms and their customers to further various public and private policies. Brand value could play a more significant role in conveying robust corporate social responsibility efforts to consumers, thereby creating market-differentiation mechanisms for brand owners, improving firm efficiency, and increasing supply chain sustainability — not to mention contributing to more meaningful choices for consumers participating in now ubiquitous global value networks. In short, trademark goodwill performs a critical public, communicative function and therefore is a key public good within a regulatory governance framework.

Keywords: Brands, Brand Valuation, Certification, Certification Mark Corporate Social Responsibility, Global Governance, Goodwill, Regulatory Governance, Trademark

Suggested Citation

Chon, Margaret, Trademark Goodwill as a Public Good: Brands and Innovations in Corporate Social Responsibility (2017). Lewis & Clark Law Review, (Forthcoming); Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 16-22. Available at SSRN:

Margaret Chon (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics