Lanham Act

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Lanham Act

The Lanham Act of 1946, also known as the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1051 et seq., ch. 540, 60 Stat. 427 [1988 & Supp. V 1993]), is a federal statute that regulates the use of Trademarks in commercial activity. Trademarks are distinctive pictures, words, and other symbols or devices used by businesses to identify their goods and services. The Lanham Act gives trademark users exclusive rights to their marks, thereby protecting the time and money invested in those marks. The act also serves to reduce consumer confusion in the identification of goods and services.

The Lanham Act was not the first federal legislation on trademarks, but it was the first comprehensive federal legislation. Before the Lanham Act, most of trademark law was regulated by a variety of state laws.

The first federal trademark legislation was passed by Congress in 1870 and amended in 1876. In 1879 the U.S. Supreme Court found that legislation unconstitutional. Two subsequent attempts at federal trademark legislation provided little protection for the rights of trademark users. The movement for stronger trademark legislation began in the 1920s, and was championed in the 1930s by Representative Fritz Lanham, of Texas. In 1946 Congress passed the act and named it the Lanham Act after its chief proponent. Lanham stated in 1946 that the act was designed "to protect legitimate business and the consumers of the country."

The Lanham Act protected trademarks used in commerce and registered with the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. It expanded the types of trademarks that deserved legal protection, created legal procedures to help trademark holders enforce their rights, and established an assortment of rights that attached to qualified trademarks.

Congress has amended the act several times since 1946. The most sweeping changes came in 1988. Those changes included an amendment that authorized the protection of trademarks that had not been used in commerce but were created with the intent that they be used in commerce.

Further readings

Curtis, Ted, and Joel H. Stempler. 1995. "So What Do We Name the Team? Trademark Infringement, the Lanham Act, and Sports Franchises." Columbia-VLA Journal of Law and the Arts 19.

Kearney, Brian J. 1986. "The Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984: A Sensible Legislative Response to the Ills of Commercial Counterfeiting." Fordham Urban Law Journal 14.

Pierce, Kenneth R. 1990. "Origins of the Use Requirement and an Overview of the New Federal Trademark Law." Florida Bar Journal 64 (May).

Thill, Russell George. 1994. "The 1988 Trademark Law Revision Act: Damage Awards for False Advertising and Consumer Standing under Section 43(A)—Congress Drops the Ball Twice." DePaul Business Law Journal 6.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In his opinion, Blakey wrote the federal Lanham Act allows parties to assert claims of trademark infringement of unregistered marks.
The ruling found that Diamond's claims of false advertising are consistent with the pleading requirements under the Lanham Act, and that the Complaint meets the applicable standard to allege fraud under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).
Shure is seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief to prevent the continuing infringement of Shure's intellectual property and to stop ClearOne's unlawful violations of the Delaware Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Lanham Act and its Tortious Interference with Business Relations.
Tam wanted to trademark his band's name (The Slants), but the federal Trademark Office said no because under Section 2(a) of the 1946 Lanham Act, the Trademark Office can deny requests for trademarks that it deems "scandalous, immoral, or disparaging." Despite the fact that plenty of existing trademarks contain the word "slants," the Trademark Office deemed Tarn's potential trademark "disparaging" because The Slants are an Asian-American band and their name obviously refers to the racial slur.
While states play important roles in certifying products, the Lanham Act's certification mark provisions impose restrictions on certifiers that are designed to rein in self-dealing and anticompetitive conduct by private businesses and trade groups.
Where plaintiffs' complaint alleged that defendants used their trademarks without authorization to sell counterfeit versions of their products and plaintiffs properly served defendants by email pursuant to a court order, plaintiffs were entitled to default judgment on their claims that defendants violated Sections 32 and 43 of the Lanham Act.
A portion of his practice is devoted to complex business litigation, including breach of contract cases, breach of confidentiality cases, and cases involving Lanham Act violations.
Noah Bank has said that it has resolved its lawsuit with Duluth, Georgia-based NOA Bank in which Noah Bank raised allegations that NOA Bank had violated the Lanham Act, including trademark infringement, false designation of origin and description and unfair competition, as well as a number of related state law claims.
The federal antitrust action is seeking treble damages from Ribbon for alleged violations of the Sherman Act, damages under the Lanham Act and various state statutes, as well as permanent injunctive relief seeking to prevent Ribbon from continuing its unlawful conduct.
Take the 1946 Lanham Act, which requires franchisors to police their IP licensed to third parties.
Her expertise spans a wide variety of areas of substantive law, including Lanham Act, RICO, ERISA, False Claims Act, antitrust, consumer protection, and contract claims, among others, and she has handled all aspects of litigation including multiple jury trials, bench trials, and international arbitration hearings on the merits, as well as appellate proceedings.
Soon after the Arla ad campaign debuted, Elanco filed suit alleging that the ads contain false and misleading statements in violation of the Lanham Act. Elanco simultaneously moved for a preliminary injunction and supported the motion with copies of the ads, scientific literature documenting rbST's safety, and evidence that a major cheese producer had decreased its demand for rbST in response to the ad campaign.