Friday, June 11, 2010
The Law and Economics of Trademarks: Product Differentiation, Market Power and New Directions in Antitrust
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
P. Sean Morris, University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law provides his thoughts on The Law and Economics of Trademarks: Product Differentiation, Market Power and New Directions in Antitrust.
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to clarify the relationship between trademarks and market power and their implication for antitrust law and policy by using law and economics approaches. The interaction of trademarks and antitrust continues to be an enigmatic area of intellectual property rights and policy making. Antitrust law protects competition and the competitive process by preventing certain type of conduct that threatens a free market. Trademark law protect the owners brand and for the owner to reap the economic incentive from its protection. In this paper, I argue that both the law and economics of trademark should steer new directions for both policy goals. Do trademarks confer market power? Are well known marks too dominant? If so, what do current antitrust law tells us about the interaction of intellectual property rights and competition? This research paper will offer a discourse into product differentiation and monopolistic competition in trademarks. While current law and economics model of trademark law argues that trademarks serves to lower consumer search costs, I argue that trademarks are monopolist in nature.