Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


This article focuses on the concurrent use doctrine of trademarks. This doctrine allows different owners to use the same or similar trademarks in business if (1) the junior use is geographically remote to the senior use and (2) the trademark was adopted in good faith. The second element is interpreted differently, with a shrinking minority requiring no actual knowledge and the minority requiring no intent of the junior user to imply his goods are those of the senior user.

The author argues that the internet revolution has created substantial problems with the concurrent use doctrine. The first major issue is that the requirement of ignorance of use of another's mark due to geographic distance is limited by internet technology. The second issue relates to isolated geographic useage of a trademark by a junior user because of the overlap of territory created by the internet.

The author offers several solutions, suggesting that courts create special assistants to deal with the rapidly evolving technology, and that courts do not adopt per se rules that will often become moot or harmful because of the changing nature of the technology revolution. The author suggests eliminating the geographical remoteness element of the concurrent use doctrine, focussing instead on the junior user's notice.