Student ID: 1072850320
Module code: Law 331
Assignment title/question: Intellectual Property Law
Submission deadline: 20/03/15
Word count (ensure this is accurate before you submit your work): 2907
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Intellectual Property Law Assignment
This assignment will critically evaluate the development of trade mark law and will look at one aspect of the definition stated in the Trade Marks Act; “a trade mark means any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings’’1 in more detail. This shall be done by using relevant case law and up to date academic opinion.
First this discussion will look at the historical background of trade marks. The marking of goods in order to distinguish them from others is a common practice which can be traced back to Greek and Roman times. By the nineteenth century it was evident that some marks applied to goods had become distinctive had an inherent importance and were worthy of some kind of legal protection2. The protection of trade marks originated as a police measure to thwart the grievous deceit of the people by the sale of defective goods3. The Trade Mark Act 1875 functioned on the notion that trade marks operated to indicate origin of the product4 4this was not the first sight of trade mark law in the U.K but was the first act in the U.K to provide a more comprehensive approach to trade marks and the act also made it possible to register a trade mark for any sort of goods5. This register is still in use today and provides the owner of the trade mark with evidence of a legal title to, and exclusive rights of use of, the trade mark for the goods in respect of which is registered6. As you can see for yourself today, a registered trade mark covers a lot more than just the origin of a certain product.
In 1927 Frank Schechter a leading historian in trade mark law, advocated that a trade marks requires further protection, he stated that “the real injury in all such cases…is the gradual whittling away or dispersion of the identity and hold upon the public mind of the mark or name by its use upon non-competing goods. The more distinctive or unique the mark, the deeper its impress upon the public consciousness, and the greater its need for its protection against vitiation or dissociation from the particular product in connection with which it has been used’’7. These arguments over time have been acknowledged and implemented in national law8. The courts have previously discussed the effectiveness of the law around trade marks, Lord Justice Rindley in the “Yorkshire Relish’’ case