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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

David Y. Gan

Abstract

The Seventh Circuit's decision in Illinois High School Ass'n v. GTE Vantage, Inc. addressed a previously unrecognized category of trademark-the "dual-use" trademark term. "Dual-use" terms are marks that are associated by the public with two parties, where confusion would likely arise regarding which party the mark denotes. Writing for a three-judge panel, Chief Judge Posner held that dual-use terms should be treated similarly to generic terms and receive no protection under trademark law.

In this Note, the author examines the implications of the Seventh Circuit's decision in terms of the underlying goals of trademark law, the public's interest in effective communication and freedom from confusion, the interests of the trademark owner, and the doctrine of reverse confusion. The author then proposes a more flexible approach to dual-use terms; one that is better able to balance the varied and often conflicting interests that exist with a dual-use trademark term.

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