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Title: The expansion of trademark functions with particular reference to online keywords advertising : the European experience
Author: Rabab'A, Moh'd Ghazi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 5144
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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The primary purpose of a trademark is to facilitate the communication of information between consumers and producers about their products and services to those who wish or need to buy them. The consumer needs to be able to depend on the message the mark conveys to ensure they are purchasing what will fulfil their requirements. In the modern market place, the choice appears endless, and indeed the principles of free trade espoused by the European treaties has heightened the opportunities for cross-national traders to sell their goods, and increased the options available to consumers. When this occurs, so does the availability of information which a purchaser may find the need to seek through to ascertain what he or she wants in an complex and often confusing exercise in differentiation. It is therefore in the interests of producers and customers that those who manufacture goods or provide services develop a mark which identifies their wares and helps provide feedback measured by success; consequently an exchange of information. Consumers are able to make their preferences known via choice, or otherwise, of the mark. Modern business methods and the vast array of marketing opportunities are not only placing the role and function of the trademark at the forefront of consumer protection, but also developing the concept of the mark as an asset of considerable value in itself. This increases its vulnerability to competitive interference and the proposition that it should receive enhanced protection in law. Somewhat perversely, it has resulted in a body of legislation and jurisprudence which lacks cogency and coherence. The purpose of this thesis, accordingly, is to examine the causes thereof by evaluating the current European trademarks protection system to ascertain the contribution they actually make to promotion of free competition and the movement of goods or services upon which that substantial market is predicated. It will examine the impact of the development of protection granted to the trademark with particular reference to the use of online keywords advertising service and focus on the effect of relatively new theories of what functions qualify to be shielded from harm from competitive others. This has expanded beyond the conventional boundaries of source ‘origin’ protection, espoused to primarily protect consumers from confusion in their choice making process. Advertising and investment functions as separate principle are recognised by the Court of Justice of the European Union, but do not appear to qualify for safeguarding in the context of the competitive free market. In fact, it will be shown that giving excessive shelter from harm to all functions which may affect the value of the trademark will limit, even jeopardise, third party competitor and consumer issues. It will inhibit the use of the e-commerce online keywords advertising service which assists third parties to promote alternative competing goods or services and so reduce consumer choice by restriction of online information. It is suggested that proper, clear defences must be guaranteed under the law so third parties may gauge their actions to avoid infringement of trademark owner rights whilst promoting their own products, and accordingly strike the necessary balance between the different competing interests of trademark owners, third parties competitors, and consumers.
Supervisor: Carty, Hazel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Trademarks ; Online Keywords Advertising