Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Arizona Law Review

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

While trademarks promote a competitive and productive marketplace, the Patent and Trademark Office runs the current system of trademark registration as a monopoly of questionable productivity. Delays in obtaining trademark registrations result in a risk to applicants of investing substantial sums into ultimately unregisterable marks. This Article proposes a system of privatized trademark registration as a solution, with features including: multiple entities serving as registrars; an optional expedited process; and quality-control mechanisms. To explore the viability of trademark privatization, the Article relies on the theoretical privatization literature and practical examples in which government exclusivity has been removed from intellectual-property (and other) decision-making. By challenging the PTO's monopoly, the Article pursues a more general discussion about improvements to the existing system of trademark registration.

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