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McCarthy Symposium Examines New Challenges to Trademark Law

November 09, 2009

The USF School of Law hosted a gathering of intellectual law professors and practitioners from around the world on Nov. 4 to grapple with emerging issues in trademark law.

J. Thomas McCarthy, senior professor and founding director of the McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law, delivered the keynote address.

More than 200 people attended the day-long symposium, The Brand as Property: Trademark Law and Its Challenges in a New Era. It was sponsored by the USF School of Law McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law, Microsoft Corp., the Chinese law firm Unitalen, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Panel discussions focused on recent cases against eBay brought by trademark holders including Tiffany & Co. who are fighting the sale of counterfeit products online; liability issues raised by the use of keywords in search engine advertising; recent developments in Chinese intellectual property law; and the pending roll-out of new generic top-level domains.

The keynote address was delivered by J. Thomas McCarthy, senior professor and founding director of the McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law. In his welcome address, Dean Jeffrey Brand recognized McCarthy for the "pioneering work he has done in trademark law through a lifetime of service to the law school and to the intellectual property community in which he rightfully holds a place in the pantheon that has witnessed as great of a revolution as the world has known."

Adjunct Professor Thomas Klitgaard introduced Chinese Supreme Court Justice Kong Xiangjun.

McCarthy's address focused on the need for new defenses in trademark law.

"The definition of what constitutes trademark infringement has expanded dramatically over the years," yet there has been no corresponding growth in legal defenses to allegations of trademark infringement, McCarthy said.

The symposium also featured two distinguished guest addresses. Justice Kong Xiangjun of the Chinese Supreme Court for Intellectual Property spoke on strengthening the judicial protection of intellectual property rights in China. Ernesto Rubio, assistant director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, spoke on recent developments on the Madrid Protocol.