Rethinking Trademarks and Competition: When is a Brand a Barrier to Market Entry?

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The possible scope for competition policy safeguards in the field of trademark law has received relatively little attention from policymakers in recent years, at least by contrast with other areas of intellectual property (IP). Yet, given the significant market power afforded by brands in the contemporary marketplace, the exercise of rights by incumbent trademark owners may have a significant effect on competition.
The search cost reduction function is central to conventional registered trademarks theory. It holds that legally protecting trademarks mitigates the cost of ascertaining the qualities of goods or services. Clear and reliable signs are a cost-effective way of addressing the information asymmetry between suppliers and consumers. The ascendancy of the search cost reduction theory means that the law tends to focus on combatting anything that might dilute the signalling function of a mark, with less regard for the countervailing concern that registered trademarks rights can constitute effective barriers to entry and hence reduce
dynamic competition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompetition Policy and Intellectual Property in Today's Global Economy
EditorsRobert Anderson, Nuno Pires de Carvalho, Antony Taubman
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9781108157827
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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