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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (5th edn)

Lionel Bently, Brad Sherman, Dev Gangjee, and Phillip Johnson
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date: 22 March 2023

p. 84731. Introduction to passing off and trade markslocked

p. 84731. Introduction to passing off and trade markslocked

  • L. Bently, L. BentlyHerchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property, University of Cambridge
  • B. Sherman, B. ShermanProfessor of Law, University of Queensland
  • D. GangjeeD. GangjeeAssociate Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Oxford
  •  and P. JohnsonP. JohnsonProfessor of Commercial Law, Cardiff University


This chapter introduces the common law of passing off and the statutory regime that protects registered trade marks found in the Trade Marks Act 1994. It commences with a brief history of trade marks and the development of their legal protection. This is followed by a discussion on the ways in which legal protection of signs and symbols are justified. It then considers the international and regional background that informs and constrains the law on trade marks in the UK, with particular reference to registration and the harmonization of standards. The chapter concludes by looking at challenges posed to trade marks by electronic commerce and the use of trade marks as domain names, as well as the phenomenon of supermarket lookalikes or own brands.

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