Lanham Act (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Lanham Act of 1946, also known as the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1051 et seq., ch. 540, 60 Stat. 427 [1988 & Supp. V 1993]), is a federal statute that regulates the use of TRADEMARKS in commercial activity. Trademarks are distinctive pictures, words, and other symbols or devices used by businesses to identify their goods and services. The Lanham Act gives trademark users exclusive rights to their marks, thereby protecting the time and money invested in those marks. The act also serves to reduce consumer confusion in the identification of goods and services.
The Lanham Act was not the first federal legislation on trademarks, but it was the first comprehensive federal legislation. Before the Lanham Act, most of trademark law was regulated by a variety of state laws.
The first federal trademark legislation was passed by Congress in 1870 and amended in 1876. In 1879 the U.S. Supreme Court found that legislation unconstitutional. Two subsequent attempts at federal trademark legislation provided little protection for the rights of trademark users. The movement for stronger trademark legislation began in the 1920s, and was championed in the 1930s by Representative Fritz Lanham, of Texas. In 1946 Congress passed the act and named it the Lanham Act after its chief proponent. Lanham stated in 1946 that the act was...
(The entire section is 414 words.)
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