Meeting of the Minds

Trademarks without Borders: The Struggle to Establish Geographical Rights for Common Law Trademarks Used Online

John A. Zevitas and Thomas J. Mihill

©2014. Published in Landslide, Vol. 7, No. 2, November/December 2014, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

The Internet has become an integral part of the lives of U.S. consumers. More than 80 percent of shoppers utilize the Internet to make a purchase or to conduct research to make informed buying decisions.1 The transformation of the U.S. economy from one traditionally reliant upon brick-and-mortar stores to one that has becoming increasingly dependent on a vibrant online marketplace has required U.S. trademark law to evolve in order to meet the demands that follow such a rapid expansion of commerce. The resounding advancements in e-commerce and online advertising provide geographically remote trademark owners unprecedented access to untapped markets, allowing them to expand their reach in both sales and advertising. This is especially true with the development of an Internet marketplace that allows goods to be advertised and sold around the country from a single geographic location.

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