Shifting Patterns in Marks and Registration: France, the United States and United Kingdom, 1870-1970
This paper looks at trademarks and brands, beyond the conventional interests of marketing and law, as a way to explaining the evolution of international business and economies in general. It shows that the perspective defended by many scholars such as Chandler (1990), Wilkins (1991, 1994) and Koehn’ (2001), about the Anglo-Saxon countries, and in particular the United States, leading the transition to modern trade-marks is narrow in its focus. Instead of the United States standing out as historically on the leading edge of innovation in the law and practice of trade marking, it appears from several directions to have been on the trailing edge. France and Britain have a more enduring interest in trademarking. The paper also looks at one particular subset of trade mark registration data – non durable consumer goods. These, and in particular food, are the dominant sectors in the three countries in terms of trademarking, reflecting the character of the sectors where imagery associated with the products is so central in competition. The paper relies on original data from three countries, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, in particular trade mark registrations, and the analysis spans for a period of one hundred years period 1870-1970.
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