IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

A mark of distinction: Branding and trade mark law in the UK from the 1860s

Listed author(s):
  • John Mercer

The development of branding is a neglected theme in business history. This article examines the emergence on a large scale of the unique product brand name - distinct from a company name or product descriptor - in the UK in the later nineteenth century. It looks at the interaction of branding strategies and UK trade mark law, which is shown to have accorded property rights in word-based marks only gradually and shaped the development of branding in the UK. Trademark application data from the 1870s to the 1920s is cited to illustrate the widespread take-up of the brand name in the UK from the 1880s, and to consider its use by different types of consumer goods firms. The article then analyses the effects of such branding into the twentieth century, including its contribution to competitive advantage, the introduction of brand architecture, and the problem of brand genericisation. It is argued that the adoption of the brand name marked a major shift in brands, from descriptions of origin to objects of artifice.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Business History.

Volume (Year): 52 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 17-42

in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:52:y:2010:i:1:p:17-42
DOI: 10.1080/00076790903281033
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:52:y:2010:i:1:p:17-42. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.