Table of Contents

Trademark Law and Theory

Trademark Law and Theory

A Handbook of Contemporary Research

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Graeme B. Dinwoodie and Mark D. Janis

This important research Handbook brings together a set of illuminating works by the field’s leading scholars to comprise one of the broadest and most far-reaching overviews of trademark law issues. Organized around three areas of inquiry, the book starts by offering a rich variety of methodological perspectives on trademark law. Reflecting the multifaceted nature of contemporary trademarks, contributors have drawn from law and economics, political science, semiotic theory, and history. The Handbook goes on to survey trademark law’s international landscape, addressing indigenous cultural property, human rights issues, the free movement of goods, and the role of substantive harmonization. It concludes with a series of forward-looking perspectives, which focus on trademark law’s intersection with the laws of advertising and free speech, copyright law, cyberspace regulation, and design protection.

Section C: Trademark and Traditional Knowledge

Edited by Graeme B. Dinwoodie and Mark D. Janis

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


15 Online word of mouth and its implications for trademark law Eric Goldman* I. Introduction It is already well-understood that the Internet is a major new medium for human communication.1 It is less well understood how this new medium should affect trademark law. Trademark law is wrestling with cybersquatting/domainers,2 the sale of keyword-triggered ads and other high-profile Internet trademark disputes, but I believe that “online word of mouth” poses the most important challenge to Internet trademark law. “Word of mouth” describes the process of transmitting information from person to person. In commercial contexts, word of mouth involves consumers sharing their opinions about marketplace offerings with each other, often through everyday conversations. Offline, consumer word of mouth plays a major role in the marketplace by disciplining some brands and rewarding others, but a person’s views typically reach only a limited number of people. In contrast, the Internet helps create new word of mouth content (otherwise foreclosed by higher offline communication costs) and disseminate word of mouth to new and previously unreachable audiences. The broad reach of online word of mouth gives consumers tremendous * Eric Goldman, Assistant Professor of Law and Director, High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University School of Law. Email: Website: I was General Counsel of from 2000 to 2002. Thanks to Graeme Dinwoodie, Mark Janis, Mark Lemley, Michael Risch, Rebecca Tushnet, Fred von Lohmann, Tal Zarsky and the participants at the October 2006 Works in Progress Intellectual Property (WIPIP) Colloquium at the...

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