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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2023 Grand Challenge: Workforce Disrupted
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Jun 12, 2020

Old Law, New Tech, and Citizen-Created Hashtags: #BlackLivesMatter and the Case for Provisional Hashtag Marks


Using #BlackLivesMatter as a case study, this research documents the tensions and harms associated with trademarking online social movement hashtags. Grounded in the work of critical race theory and intellectual property scholars, this study analyzes the inconsistencies in the United States Patent and Trademark Office application practice. The contradictions signal a limited or “mis”understanding of the utility of citizen-created hashtags and online social movement slogans. We propose a provisional networked trademark that would grant limited protection to social movements in order to show that their mark demonstrates the kind of secondary meaning required for a traditional trademark.

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