Trademark Law

Fall 2023

Class Meeting in WH2A: Mon and Wed 1:00-2:15 pm

Office Hours in WH211C between now and 5 pm Dec. 5: I can meet with you by appointment in person, on Zoom, or by phone - send me an email with the days and times that work for you; I will be in my office on Tue, Dec. 5 and hold an optional review session open to everyone on Zoom that day to answer any questions about the practice exam or other subjects we covered in class 

Required Materials: (1) Version 10 of Professor Barton Beebe's casebook Trademark Law: An Open-Access Casebook (July 17, 2023), which is available for free download at this link and (2) other materials posted on this website or on Blackboard.

Reading Assignments


8/21: Pages 1-20 of the casebook (CB); Check out the USPTO’s Trademarks webpage and review one or more videos on its Trademark Information Network webpage.

I Establishing Trademark Rights

8/23: CB 21-40 (trademark distinctiveness); Select the name of a product brand that you use or like, search for that word or phrase claimed as a trademark by clicking “Search our trademark database (TESS)” at this link, and review the information about the trademark registration for the word(s). Then be prepared to talk in class about how to classify that word mark on the Abercrombie spectrum.

8/28: CB 40-79, 86-90 (distinctiveness cont'd) [skips Elliot CB 79-86]

8/30: CB 40-79, 86-90 (distinctiveness cont'd) 

9/4 (Monday): Labor Day Holiday - no class

9/6: CB 90-99, 109-128, 130-138, 140-141 (distinctiveness cont'd) [skips Two Pesos, Fundamental, Frankish, Star]

9/11: CB 109-128, 130-138, 140-143 (distinctiveness cont'd; bars to protection - functionality) [skips Two Pesos, Fundamental, Frankish, Star, Morton Norwich]

9/13: CB 151-171, 173-183 (functionality cont'd)

9/18: CB 162-171, 173-195 (functionality cont'd, other bars to registration)

9/20: CB 195-232 (bars to registration cont'd; use in commerce as a prerequisite for trademark rights)

9/25: CB 221-254 (use in commerce cont'd; trademark registration process) [skips Park N Fly]

9/27: CB 261-292 (geographic extent of trademark rights) [skips ITC cases and Belmora]

II. Enforcement of Trademark Rights

10/2: CB 284-292, 319-321, 329-334, 340-341, 349-356 (geographic extent of trademark rights cont'd; actionable use requirement) [skips Rescuecom, Borden, Polaroid, and Virgin]

10/4: Stone Brewing Co. v. Millercoors LLC, 445 F.Supp.3d 1113, 1125-1137 (S.D. Cal. 2020) (posted in the Course Materials folder of Blackboard); CB 356-371 (likelihood of confusion test for infringement)

10/9: CB 356-377; 383-396 (survey evidence; sponsorship or affiliation confusion; initial interest confusion) [skips Smack

10/10 (Tue) at 10 p.m.: essay answer to first practice trademark exam due to me via email no later than 10 p.m.

10/11: CB 397-432 (post sale confusion; reverse confusion; reverse passing off)

10/16: CB 432-450, 459-471 (Section 2(d) likelihood of confusion challenges; trademark dilution)

10/18: class cancelled (I will be at the AIPLA annual meeting talking about trademarks and free speech and the Elster case)

10/23: Guest lecture by Emily Burns, Senior Trademark Counsel for YouTube

10/25: CB 434-450, 459-471 (trademark dilution)

10/30: CB 462-494 (dilution cont'd; cybersquatting)

III. Defensive Doctrines in Trademark Law

11/1: CB 495-530 (secondary liability; descriptive fair use)

11/6: CB 519-548, 554-556 (descriptive fair use; nominative fair use) [skips Int'l Info, Liquid Glass, Toho]; be prepared to discuss the November 1 oral argument in Vidal v. Elster in class on November 6

11/8: CB 539-548; 554-581 (nominative fair use; expressive uses of trademarks)

11/13: CB 569-608 (expressive uses of trademarks cont'd; trademark abandonment)

11/15: CB 602-611; 619-647 (trademark abandonment; assignment in gross; first sale doctrine; false advertising) [skips Freecycle]; optional reading: CB 690-718 (endorsements, testimonials, and reviews) 

IV. False Advertising

11/20: CB 627-647 (first sale doctrine cont'd; false advertising); 719-730 (right of publicity) [skips Time Warner, Pizza Hut]; optional reading: CB 690-718 (endorsements, testimonials, and reviews)

11/22: No class - Happy Thanksgiving! 

V. Right of Publicity

11/27: CB 719-730; 739-755 (right of publicity); optional reading: CB 730-37 (Judge Kozkinski's dissenting opinion in White)

11/28 (Tue) at 10 p.m.: essay answer to second practice trademark exam due to me via email no later than 10 p.m.

VI. Remedies

11/29: CB 739-770 (right of publicity cont'd; remedies); discuss the answer to the second practice trademark exam and other questions about the class