Modern trademark scholarship and jurisprudence view trademark law as an institution aimed at improving the amount and quality of information available in the marketplace.  Under this paradigm—known as the search-costs theory of trademarks—trademarks are socially beneficial because they reduce consumer search costs, and as a consequence provide producers with an incentive to maintain their goods and services at defined and persistent qualities. Working within this paradigm, my recent paper refines the search-cost theory of trademarks.  It highlights an important point whose significance hitherto has largely escaped notice, namely that reducing search costs and providing incentives to maintain quality are distinct functions, although they …

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The Social Science Research Council submitted a Comment to the USTR about software piracy, as part of the public hearing process for the 2011 Special 301 Report.  The submission cites, and largely echoes, my 2005 paper on network effects and software piracy.  Nice. The SSRC provides the following summary of its submission: Unlike recorded media business models such as the CD and DVD businesses, piracy is not primarily a drain on the software business, but rather a critical part of the business model that allows the building market share in low income countries and the effective locking out of open …

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