48:4 Looking at the Lanham Act: Images in Trademark and Advertising Law

Trademark: Today and Tomorrow


Words are the prototypical regulatory subjects for trademark and advertising law, despite our increasingly audiovisual economy. This word-focused baseline has continuing consequences for the Lanham Act, which often misconceives its object, resulting in confusion and incoherence.

The paper explores some of the ways courts have attempted to fit images into a word-centric model, while not fully recognizing the particular ways in which images make meaning.