A Paradigm Shift of the Trademark Logo Towards Algorithmic Justice
PhD thesis, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong, August 31, 2013
382 Pages Posted: 18 May 2017
Date Written: August 31, 2013
English Abstract: Unauthorised use of the trademark logo on social media on a massive scale has led to frequent legal conflicts between trademark holders, social media providers and internet users and legal uncertainty. The thesis concludes that trademark infringement and dilution laws in the U.S. and EU are inadequate to solve this problem. The trademark logo on social media should be protected against unauthorised use, even though it is not used to sell the good or service the trademark indicates, but is used in a commercial environment.
Two premises for any solution are that first the enforcement should be made automatic, since litigation on a case-by-case basis is not scalable, and second that the safe harbour provisions for online service providers, that aggravate the problem, should be substituted for strict liability. The trademark logo can be seen as the personification of the trademark holder, and one can argue that the stability of the trademark logo is not only in the interest of the trademark holder but also of society at large. One can argue that trademark dilution already provides a kind of moral right of integrity for the trademark logo. However, this right is limited to trademark logos that are considered famous or have a reputation, and, moreover, that are used in a commercial way.
This thesis argues that also the trademark logo that did not reach the requested level of fame or reputation and is used in a non-commercial way should also be protected against unauthorised use on social media. Therefore the moral right of integrity is proposed for the trademark logo. Until the law will be amended to include a moral right of integrity for the trademark logo, this thesis suggests to implement proactive solutions in the walled gardens of social media as a testing ground for potential legislation. This automated solution is scalable, makes intellectual property protection and enforcement not only effective but also more calibratable to social policy goals and will inevitable lead to an algorithmic justice.
Chinese Abstract: 邁向算法公義的商標圖案範式轉移社交媒體上大規模未經授權使用的商標標誌為商標持有人、社交媒體提供商和互聯網用戶之間帶來法律衝突，更帶來法律上的不確定性。本文提出的結論是美國與歐盟有關商標被侵犯和稀釋的法律並不足以解決這個問題。縱使在社交媒體上的商標標誌未被用作銷售貨品或服務，但由於是在商業環境使用，所以法律應該保障其免被未經授權使用。任何解決方法都必須基於兩個前設。首先由於按個別情況興訟的可行性低，所以執法應該自動化。其二網絡服務供應商所依賴的避風港條款只會使問題更加嚴重，因此應該採用嚴格法律責任。商標標誌可被視為商標持有人的縮影，而商標標誌的穩定性除了對商標持有人有利之外，可謂對廣大社會也有裨益。法律所保障商標免被稀釋本身可說是一種對商標標誌完整性的精神權利的認可。但現時只有被認為著名，有聲譽，以及作商業用途的商標標誌才享有此權利。本文強調一般未達到著名或有聲譽，以及未作商業用途的商標標誌在社交媒體上應該受到同等免被未經授權使用的保障。就此，本文提出商標標誌應享有完整性的精神權利。在修法保障商標標誌完整性的精神權利前，本文建議在社交媒體這個空間裡採納積極的措施，以測試未來法律條文的可行性。此自動化的方案有可擴展性，使保障和執行知識產權既有效率，又可對準社會政策的目標，更必然會帶來算法公義。
Note: Downloadable document is available in English.
Keywords: intermediary liability, online service provider, trademark law, social media, algorithmic justice, automated enforcement, intellectual property law, Creative Commons, pre-update filtering, filtering, monitoring obligation, wilful blindness, strict liability, safe harbor provisions, safe harbor
JEL Classification: K40, K41, K42, O30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation