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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Professor LaFrance Wins Ladas Memorial Award

The Boyd School of Law is very pleased to announce that Professor Mary LaFrance's recent article, "Passing Off and Unfair Competition: Conflict and Convergence in Competition Law," was selected as the winner of the 2012 Ladas Memorial Award for writing excellence on the subject of trademarks and related matters.

The abstract for "Passing Off and Unfair Competition" provides: "Traditionally, common law and civil law regimes have differed significantly in their approaches to trademark protection, with common law regimes focused primarily on preventing consumer deception, and civil law regimes aiming more broadly at upholding an ill-defined standard of fairness in the marketplace. As a result, while civil law regimes ground their trademark jurisprudence in the avoidance of free-riding, in common law countries a wider array of competitive behavior is permitted, provided that these activities do not mislead consumers. The European Union’s attempt at harmonizing competition law has tended to favor the civil law approach, with resulting pressure on the United Kingdom to depart from its adherence to the narrower concept of passing off. In addition, aggressive litigation by trademark owners has tested the limits of the passing off doctrine in both the United States and Australia. As a result, the passing off doctrine has undergone dramatic expansion in several of the common law jurisdictions, and in some cases has become indistinguishable from unfair competition law. Despite this convergence, some pushback can be discerned in discrete areas of application. These developments are clearly illustrated by recent developments in three areas: (1) comparative advertising of copycat products; (2) merchandising rights; and (3) keyword advertising."

The Award, which is sponsored by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the law firm of Ladas & Parry, will be officially announced at the INTA Gala on May 5, 2012, at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Mary!