Trademarks, Brands, and Competition
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Trademarks, Brands, and Competition book
Trademark rights are exclusive rights. They allow their owners to exclude others from certain uses of the signs that constitute the subject matter of protection. The justifi cation behind this lies in the distinguishing function of trademarks. They allow consumers to distinguish between products and express their preferences. As a result, they allow traders to compete. Once a trademark becomes established through use and advertising, however, it can be transformed into a powerful barrier against smaller players or new entrants. These two issues demonstrate the complexity of the relationship between the inherently procompetitive nature of trademarks on the one hand, and the inherently monopolistic effect of the exclusionary scope of trademark rights on the other.