This module looks at what is meant by a `trade mark' and explores the messages that trade marks communicate and roles they perform. These are important enquiries because questions of what trade marks do and ought to do have a direct impact on the contours of the law. A major theme will be the relationship between trade marks and brands: to what extent should trade mark law be concerned with protecting brand value? what might a focus on brand value mean for competitors? is a focus on brand value compatible with the logics of trade mark registration?
These questions will be explored primarily by reference to European trade mark law, but the module will also draw on comparative material (particularly from the US and British Commonwealth) where such material helps illustrate the different paths the law might take.