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First Post-Viacom 512(c) Opinion Doesn't Look Much Different--Obodai v. Demand Media

Publication Date: 
June 18, 2012
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman

Professor Mark Lemley was quoted in a story questioning the prioritization of cases involving copyright/patent issues over those involving trademark issues. Eric Goldman of the Technology & Marketing Law Blog wrote the following article:

In April, Graeme Dinwoodie and Mark Janis once again convened a roundtable of trademark law scholars to geek it out on trademark law. Group photo. This year’s theme was “trademark boundaries,” i.e., how trademark law abuts against other legal doctrines (such as copyright, patent or publicity rights) or no doctrines at all (a legally unregulated zone). As usual, Mark Lemley provided a helpful recap of our discussion:

* as a group, we principally interpreted “boundaries” as limits to trademark’s doctrines rather than as frontiers with other doctrines.

* we discussed how often trademark law gives way to conflicts with patent or copyright doctrine. Mark observed that not many of us questioned the supremacy of copyright/patent over trademarks in those conflicting cases. Mark spun through a series of hypotheses why we routinely view trademark law as subordinate to copyright or patent:


Mark noted that none of these explanations are fully satisfactory. As a result, we should reexamine why we denigrate trademarks’ status relative to copyrights and patents.