Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


In an "information age" dominated by mass media entertainment, graphic characters have become increasingly valuable commodities. Federal trademark law and state antidilution statutes provide alternatives to copyright law protection of such hot properties as the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." This Essay explores how courts determine the existence of secondary meaning in characters, as well as which aspects of a character, such as a costume or nickname, may receive protection. The Essay concludes with an examination of new trends introduced by the entertainment industry and the law of unfair competition.