Interested in learning more about trademark genericness?

Below we highlight two classic works that are particularly influential. We also offer a list of provocative articles that show the importance and complexity of trademark genericness.

The economic theory of trademark genericness

Landes, W. and R. Posner. (1987). Trademark law: an economic perspective. Journal of law and economics 30(2) 265-309.

Comment: The highly cited, classic work on why we have trademark law and the economic benefits and harms that can flow from it. A revised version appeared in Landes and Posner’s later book: The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law (2003, Harvard University Press).

The legal side of trademark genericness

McCarthy, J. Thomas. (2017). McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition. (currently in 5th edition).

Comment: Chapter 12 covers “Generic Terms” but this treatise contains a wealth of information and legal precedent on all aspects of trademark law in the US. The first edition appeared in the 1970s, so it casts a long shadow. The fifth edition is published by Thomson Reuters.

Suggested reading

Barnes, D. W. 2006. “A new economics of trademarks.” Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property 5: 22–67.

Beebe, B. 2003. “The semiotic analysis of trademark law.” UCLA Law Review 51: 621–704.

Beebe, B. 2004. “Search and persuasion in trademark law.” Michigan Law Review 103: 2020–2072.

Dogan, S. 2007. “A Search Costs Theory of Limiting Doctrines in Trademark Law.“ The Trademark
Reporter 97: 1222–251.

Linford, J. 2015. “A Linguistic Justification for Protecting Generic Trademarks“. Yale Journal of Law & Technology 17:110–145

McKenna, M. 2012. “A consumer decision-making theory of trademark law.” Virginia Law Review 98 (1): 67–141.

Mossoff, A. 2018. “Trademark as a Property Right.“ Kentucky Law Journal 107: 1.

Rierson, S. L. 2017. “Toward a More Coherent Doctrine of Trademark Genericism and Functionality: Focusing on Fair Competition.” Fordham Intellectual Property Media & Entertainment Law Journal 27: 691-760.

Schechter, F. I. 1927. “The Rational Basis of Trademark Protection.” Harvard Law Review 40 (6): 813-33.