INTA adopts resolution affirming opposition to branding restrictions

INTAThe International Trademark Association (INTA) has adopted a resolution that reinforces the Association’s stance against increasing and more expansive government restrictions on how a brand symbol can be used or displayed on a product or in association with services, including prohibiting the use of the brand symbol and restrictions on its capitalization, font, size, location, and color of elements.

The resolution sets out the factors governments should consider when adopting or imposing any branding restrictions, which can erode brand value and personal private property rights, diminish consumer choice, and weaken fair competition among competing products.

The action by INTA’s Board of Directors updates its resolution on the “Restrictions on Trademark Use through Plain and Standardized Product Packaging,” adopted in May 2015. It reflects INTA’s growing concern that brand restrictions are “de facto becoming a much broader phenomenon” since the earlier resolution.

The resolution affirms the Association’s position that “trademarks are intangible personal private property rights (positive rights), not merely the right to exclude others from using confusingly similar marks (negative rights), and should be protected to the same extent and degree as all other forms of personal private property, both by law and treaty.” It points to several international treaties that have clear provisions against imposing restrictions on trademarks and any unjustified encroachment.

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