UCL Faculty of Laws


Annual Sir Hugh Laddie Lecture with Prof. Barton Beebe

03 November 2021, 6:15 pm–7:15 pm

Professor Barton Beebe

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UCL's Institute of Brand & Innovation Law is delighted to announce
that the 2021 Annual Sir Hugh Laddie Lecture
will be delivered by Professor Barton Beebe (NYU)
on Wednesday 3rd November at 18:15 (GMT).

About the talk:

Is Europe Running Out of Trademarks?

Professor Beebe’s lecture is based upon a forthcoming paper ‘Is Europe Running Out of Trademarks? An Empirical Study of Trademark Depletion and Trademark Crowding at the European Union Intellectual Property Office’ which he has co-authored with Professor Jeanne C. Fromer, NYU School of Law. This new research builds upon earlier research published in the Harvard Law Review in 2018.

The many trade mark systems around the world are integrating into a de facto global system as firms increasingly adopt global branding strategies. Global integration presents significant challenges for trade mark law and policy, and one of the most urgent problems faced is that of trade mark depletion and trade mark crowding. Businesses face mounting difficulties finding brand names that will be effective throughout the global marketplace, in each of its many languages, that have not already been claimed somewhere in that marketplace. The result is rising barriers to entry, incomplete market integration, and escalating consumer search costs. As Beebe and Fromer recount in their 2018 paper in respect of the US system: ‘new trademark applicants are forced to resort to second-best, less competitive marks, and the trade mark system is growing increasingly – perhaps inordinately - crowded, noisy, and complex.’

In this lecture, Professor Beebe will relay the results of his latest empirical study, again undertaken jointly with Professor Fromer, which investigates trade mark depletion within the European Union. Their findings are based on a systematic study of all 1.9 million trade mark applications filed at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) between 1996 and 2018. During the lecture, Professor Beebe will report on findings that indicate that levels of trade mark depletion and crowding at the EUIPO exceed those in the United States and explain why the ‘reverse Babel problem’ is an additional concern. He will also demonstrate how attempts by EUIPO to deal with depletion has led to worsening levels of crowding, before proposing legal reforms that might help trade mark systems around the world to manage what may prove to be among the most intractable problems they may face this century.

About the speaker

Barton Beebe is the John M. Desmarais Professor of Intellectual Property Law at NYU School of Law and a Co-Director of the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU. He has been the James S. Carpentier Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, the Anne Urowsky Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, the Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, a Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and a Visiting Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. He is the author of Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook, a free digital textbook now in use in over 60 law schools around the world.

Watch the video on YouTube or below

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