Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Law of Cybermarks

Dan L. Burk, University of California, Irvine School of Law, has published Cybermarks, in volume 91 of the Minnesota Law Review (2010). Here is the abstract.

The commercial development of the Internet has been punctuated with legal disputes over the use of trademarks as domain names, as metatags, as search terms, and as advertising keywords. As in previous disputes in copyright over the legal status of software, these Internet trademark disputes arise from the overlap of communicative and functional symbols in information technology. Such “cybermarks” are not merely indicators of product source, but function both as symbolic indicia for human recognition and as strings of computer code in the operation of automated search and indexing mechanisms. Application of trademark law’s functionality doctrine, perhaps with some modest amendment, could begin to resolve disputes over the use of cybermarks.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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