Early marks: American trademarks before US trademark law

Duguid, Paul, (2018), Early marks: American trademarks before US trademark law, Business History, 60, issue 8, p. 1145-1168.


Historians identify the process of registration as key to the ‘modern mark’. Hence the introduction of trademark registration with the US federal law of 1870 appears as a pivotal event, endorsing Chandlerean accounts of the modern mark as a product of the ‘Second Industrial Revolution’. Such accounts overlook the earlier registration laws in places where economic conditions challenge claims for an industrial origin to registration. This article looks at California’s registration law, which antedated the US federal law by seven years, asking whether it is merely an exception to prove the Chandlerean rule, or an example that asks us to question Chandlerean assumptions.


Last updated: November 4, 2019