Trademark Harmonization: Norms, Names & Nonsense

18 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2005

See all articles by Kenneth L. Port

Kenneth L. Port

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; William Mitchell College of Law


The old territorial understandings of jurisdiction need to be reconsidered when attempting to arrive at an international standard for trademark protection. Because goods flow in a market, which has become truly international, the laws that protect the indications of source or origin used on or in connection with the sale of these goods and services is also international. Truly, as long as the world community slavishly adheres to territorial justifications for sovereignty and jurisdiction, "harmonization" of trademark laws will be impossible. In fact, the universality of markets for trademark bearing goods was one of the original objectives relied upon in the creation of the Lanham Act soon after World War II. The argument made then was that because goods traveled in one national marketplace, a unified system of trademark laws was necessary to avoid inefficiencies that would be passed on to consumers as manufacturers tried to compete in 50 different jurisdictions under 50 separate trademark laws.

Current worldwide initiatives to harmonize trademark laws are perfectly analogous to the arguments made to create one, nation wide system of trademark law in the United States in 1947. Therefore, I offer the following comments not necessarily as a completely contrary point of view, but rather as a friendly Comment that modestly attempts to provide another view on the important issue of trademark law harmonization.

Suggested Citation

Port, Kenneth L., Trademark Harmonization: Norms, Names & Nonsense. Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review, Vol. 2, p. 33, 1998. Available at SSRN:

Kenneth L. Port (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

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


William Mitchell College of Law ( email )

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


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