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To Kill A Trade Mark: Wartime Lessons for Trade Mark Law

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Date: Wednesday 12 December 2018
Venue: Moot Court, TD120, Hawthorn Campus

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Come along to the Centre for Transformative Innovation & Swinburne Law School Research Seminar Series “To Kill A Trade Mark: Wartime Lessons for Trade Mark Law” featuring Dr Catherine Bond, Senior Lecturer from UNSW Australia.

About the event

During the early months of World War I, a number of jurisdictions introduced legislation for dealing with enemy-owned intellectual property rights. In Australia, the Federal Government enacted a regime for the ‘avoidance’ or ‘suspension’ of IP registered by enemies of that country. Although patents and inventions received most of the initial interest, hundreds of trade marks were suspended under this system, raising points of controversy as to not only the purpose of this wartime law, but trade mark law more generally.

"To Kill A Trade Mark: Wartime Lessons for Trade Mark Law" utilises this wartime experience as a case study for a broader examination of three modern debates on trade mark law: the relationship between trade marks and public health; the role of trade mark law in innovation’ and consumer attachment to trade marks.

It considers each of these elements in detail by focusing on a trade mark that received the most applications and attention during this period: Aspirin. That product was subject to significant shortages in Australia and internationally and, as a result, the Federal Attorney-General would only suspend this trade marks in favour of individuals or businesses with the capacity to create the exact product. On that basis, trade mark law was used to meet public health and innovation concerns. However, as the war progressed, it was increasingly recognised that allowing traders to use the Aspirin trade mark in fact provided a benefit to the enemy – but consumers were so devoted to these particular brands that it was impossible to ‘kill’ the Aspirin trade mark.

Please note: This event is public, no RSVP required.

Contact Information: Kelli Larson