Trademarks, Branding and Freedom of Expression

"This course is primarily directed towards reexamining how traditional applications of trademark law have been modeled, adapted, and then transformed by today?s emphasis on branding, marketing, and digital technology. Special attention will also be paid to the role of constitutional protections, such as the First Amendment, in protecting fair uses, consumer commentary and artistic expression. The course is divided into roughly three parts: the first part focuses mostly on the role of trademark law in the creation of advertising, branding, and marketing, particularly with respect to today?s most successful global brands. The second part of the course focuses on the role of consumers and artists, both internationally and domestically, who engage in artistic and political activity to challenge the expansion of branding. Here, special attention will be paid to artists, consumers, and parodists who utilize brands to critique corporations, and the case law that has been generated around their efforts in real space and in cyberspace. The final part of the course concentrates on the role of the First Amendment in governing artistic, commercial and political expression, particularly in light of recent legislative, judicial, and market developments in trademark law and fair use protections. Throughout, we will also feature a few guest speakers, including artists, activists and lawyers who work in this area.

While some background in trademarks is preferred, it is not required.

Credits: 3

Type: SEM

Does this course satisfy the writing requirement? Yes