Trademark Laws And Intellectual Property Essay

971 words - 4 pages

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Intellectual property is the ‘products of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, any symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce’. Intellectual Properties such as Patents, designs, trademarks and copyrights are protected by laws .The US government offers different types of protection for these properties. The Lanham Act (15 U.S.C.A. section 1051 et seq) also known as the trademark act of 1946 provides protection for trademarks. A trademark is defined as a name, a word, a symbol, or device or any combination thereof, adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify his goods and distinguish them from those manufactured and sold by others. (Miaoulis 1978)

Over the years, many companies such as scrabble, Tylenol, Channel, Louis Vuitton and even Polo Ralph Lauren (PRL) Corporation have had to fight to protect their intellectual property. By looking more specifically into Polo Ralph Lauren, a fashion company that offers a range of products from clothing to home furnishings, this paper will explore trademark laws and how these laws could be advantageous one hand and limit one group and limit business abilities on another.

PRL USA Holdings, Inc. is the owner and licensor of Polo Ralph Lauren corporation trademarks which include the polo player logo, the term “POLO”, and other words, names and symbols that relate to PRL’s fragrances and other products. Since 1984, many trademark infringement cases have been brought to the court concerning the U.S. Polo Association, Inc. also known as the “USPA” in regards to their infringement of PRLs trademarks. The USPA is also the association for the sport of polo in the USA since 1890.Even though these two companies have been involved in many cases, there are two main cases that reflect the issues of intellectual property infringement and the ambiguity of these laws. Trademark infringement lawsuits usually arise from claims that the holder (usually a company and or its /licensee) of an alleged similar mark is creating the likelihood of customer confusion over competing products. When the USPA entered the retail industry through its licensee Jordache (Clothing manufacturer) in the 1980s, the conflicts began. In The first case ruling U.S. Polo Association Inc. v. Polo Fashions Inc., 1984 WL 1309 (S.D.N.Y. 1984), the US district court of New York ruled against USPA claims of non- infringement .The “1984 order “found that USPA and its licensees had engaged in unfair competition by infringing on PRL’s polo player logo, the word “Polo “, the polo by Ralph Lauren trademarks and even PRLs trade dress( trade dress refers to the design and shape of the materials in which a product is packaged).However, the court still allowed USPA to continue its retail licensing activities by using a polo player logo more specifically a “mounted polo player or...

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