12.05.11

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Trademark Protection

In response to press stories about Vermont artist Bo Muller-Moore’s trademark challenge, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released the following comment today.  In 2010, Senator Leahy, authored legislation to help assist trademark owners in maintaining the protection of their brands.  Included in that law was a requirement for the Department of Commerce to study whether large corporations are misusing the trademark laws to harass small businesses by exaggerating the scope of their trademark protection.  Vermont’s Rock Art Brewery, a small micro-brewery in Morrisville, Vermont, was the subject of such a threat.  Senator Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over trademark, copyright, and patent issues.

“Laws that protect intellectual property rights are crucial to U.S. creativity and to our economy, but it is important to ensure that these strike the appropriate balance so that they are used to promote, and not to stifle, innovative ideas.  We have seen in the past how trademark laws can be misused by big corporations with deep pockets to bully small businesses that have limited recourse.  As a strong defender of American intellectual property rights, I also want to see these laws used fairly and properly and not simply as a hammer for large firms to wield coercively against small firms or individuals.”

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