Trademarks and Free Expression

Date: November 24, 2016 (Thursday)

Time: 1pm – 2pm

Venue: Rooms 724 and 725, 7/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU

Speaker: Professor Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law & Director of the Technology Commercialization Law Program, Syracuse University College of Law

Abstract: Rights to free expression limit the state’s ability to abridge the speech of its citizens. This right, whether grounded in a constitution or norms, poses a challenge for intellectual property. This presentation illustrates that challenge through the case of trademarks. Can the state deny trademark registration for certain marks? Can a trademark owner prevent the speech of others that potentially interfere with trademark rights? The central thesis is that trademark policy protects rights to free expression by promoting the creation of distinctive marks. This policy allows the state to place restrictions on what can be registered and limits the scope of trademark infringement.

About the speaker: Shubha Ghosh earned his PhD in economics from Michigan and his JD from Stanford. He currently is Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and Director of the Technology Commercialization Law Program at Syracuse University College of Law.