Is Genericide a Matter of Fact or of Merit?


Shoshana Stern

Courts’ analyses of genericness are rarely straightforward. Because few courts either say what they are doing or do what they say on this count, it can be difficult to determine what is actually going on. Through analysis of a number of historic cases and a few contemporary ones, this paper will explore the ways in which genericide has been treated. It will also investigate the extent to which courts’ vagueness in defining what a trademark owner must do to protect its mark has compelled mark owners to be excessively zealous in prosecuting infringers, out of fear that inaction may be used against them in the future.

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