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Trademark Revision Act

What is a trademark?

Trademarks are words, symbols, names, and service or certification marks that help consumers distinguish one product from another. For example, the trademark "Nike," along with the Nike "swoosh," identify the shoes made by Nike and distinguish them from shoes made by other companies (e.g. Reebok or Adidas).  Similarly, the trademark "Coca-Cola" distinguishes the brown-colored soda water of one particular manufacturer from the brown-colored soda of another (e.g. Pepsi). The words  "Kleenex", "Dominos" and "Apple" are other examples of trademarks. Trademarks can be found everywhere, and generally they are identified by the @ symbol. 

USPTO. (2021). What is a tradement. United States Patent and Trademark Office.


History of trademark law

Trademark law orginated in the state common law of unfair competition. Congress supplemented the common law with the Lanham Act of 1946 (15 U.S.C. § 1051), a law that allows trademark holders (an individual, business, organization, or any legal entity) to bring trademark suits to federal courts as well state courts whose laws deal with unfair competition. The Lanham Act also provides a system for registering trademarks managed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Elizabeth F. Enayati and Stephen B. Welch, Overview of changes in federal trademark and copyright laws: The Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988 and the Berne Implementation Act of 1988, 5 Santa Clara High Tech. L.J. 521 (1989). Available at:


What is the Trademark Revision Act?

The purpose of the Trademark Law Revision Act (1988) is to (1) bring the trademark law up-to-date with present day business-practices, (2) to increase the value of the federal trademark registration system for U.S. companies, (3) to remove the current preference for foreign companies applying to register trademarks in the United States, and (4) to improve public protection from counterfeiting, confusion, and deception.

Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988, 15 U.S. C. §§ 1051-1128 (1988)


Trademark Infringement and Penalties 

Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause consumer confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.

A trademark owner who believes its mark is being infringed may file a civil action in either state court or federal court for trademark infringement, depending on the circumstances. If the trademark owner is able to prove infringement, available remedies may include the following:

  • a court order (injunction) that the defendant stop using the accused mark;
  • an order requiring the destruction or forfeiture of infringing articles;
  • monetary relief, including defendant's profits, any damages sustained by the plaintiff, and the costs of the action; and
  • an order that the defendant, in certain cases, pay the plaintiffs' attorneys' fees.

Trademark Revision Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1114, 1116-1118