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UC Davis Law Review Symposium, Sponsored by Google: Brand New World

Thurs., Oct. 4 - Fri., Oct. 5

Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom, UC Davis School of Law

"Brand New World: Distinguishing Oneself in the Global Flow"

UC Davis Law Review 2012 Symposium

University of California, Davis

October 4-5, 2012


Attendees are encouraged to RSVP.  Kindly RSVP HERE.

Free MCLE Credits Available

Thursday, October 4

9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Tactics of Distinction in the Global Flow

Law and economics scholars understand trademarks as devices that reduce consumer search costs by signaling the source of a product or service. But scholars in fields as diverse as anthropology and business management suggest that signaling source is just the beginning of the complex social and cultural work that brands and logos do. Brands tell a story, construct a community of users who are themselves co-creators of the brand, and serve as a vehicle for finding meaning, difference, identity, and connection in a global marketplace. This panel explores the complex social, psychological, and cultural role played by brands, and begins to consider how, more broadly understood, brands are in fact quite distinct from trademarks as lawyers understand them.

Barton Beebe presenting: "Shanzhai, Intellectual Property Law, and the Sumptuary Code"
New York University, Law

Dev Gangjee presenting: "Geographical Indications – A Tradition of Innovation"
London School of Economics, Law

Sonia K. Katyal presenting: "Trademarks and the Transnational Brand"
Fordham University, Law

James Leach presenting: "We’ll make a man out of you’: signalling origin, and the trade in initiation rites on the North Coast of PNG”
University of Aberdeen, Anthropology

Cori Hayden presenting: "Distinctively similar: a Generic problem"
UC Berkeley, Anthropology

Chair: Madhavi Sunder (Law, UC Davis)


 12:30-2 p.m.: Lunch, Mondavi Center - Vanderhoef Studio Theater


2:30-5 p.m.: Feeling Good by Buying Good(s): From Dolphin-Safe to Do No Evil

From Dolphin-Safe Tuna to Conflict-Free Diamonds, marks are increasingly being used to denote goods produced through practices that are sustainable or in accord with human rights. This panel explores a series of questions related to such uses. Can marks serve as indicators of morality? Can they improve products and processes, policing international trade? Who watches the watchers? What does certification mean when one group’s “fair trade” may not coincide with another group’s “fair trade”?

Rosemary Coombe presenting: "Standardizing Rights and Difference: Marks Indicating Conditions of Origin and the Demands of Neoliberal Governmentality"
York University, Law

Nicole Aylwin presenting: "Standardizing Rights and Difference: Marks Indicating Conditions of Origin and the Demands of Neoliberal Governmentality"
York University, Communication & Culture

Evelyn Lincoln presenting: "Brands of Piety"
Brown University, Art History

Maggie Chon presenting: "Looking Good"
Seattle University, Law

Haochen Sun presenting: "Reimagining the Humanistic Spirit of Trademark Law: The Imposition of Ethical Responsibility Tax on Luxury Brands and Their Consumers"
University of Hong Kong, Law

Chair: Kriss Ravetto
UC Davis, Technocultural Studies

5 p.m.: Reception, refreshments

6:30 p.m.: Speaker's Dinner


Friday, October 5

9-11:30 a.m.: From Signatures to Trademarks: Seals, Stamps, Brands

Brands are becoming increasingly crucial to modern business, but they are as old as language itself. Used to establish prestigious identities or to connect goods with their makers, they can be found in signature seals, royal coins, artists’ anagrams, coat of arms, goods stamps, chops, guild marks, and more. By revisiting historical branding landscapes, this panel looks at what elements of these practices have been included, or excluded, from the object of modern trademark law, and why.

Gary Richardson presenting: "Brand Names before the Industrial Revolution"
UC Irvine, Economics & NBER

Dagmar Schäfer presenting: "Peripheral Matters: Selvage Inscriptions on Chinese Silk Textiles"
Max Planck Institute, History of Science

Heinrich von Staden presenting:"Medicinal ‘Brands' in Ancient Greece and Rome: Authentication, Falsification, ‘Ownership' and the Trade in ‘Luxury Goods'" Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, History

Paul Duguid presenting: "A Case of Prejudice? The Uncertain Development of Collective and Certification Marks"
UC Berkeley, School of Information

Chair: Colin Milburn
UC Davis, English


11:45-1 p.m.: Lunch

Presentation: "An ABC of Seeds: Advertising, Branding, and Certification in an Emergent Industry"

  • Daniel Kevles, Yale University



1:00-3:30 p.m.: Function Creep: Hybrids at the Borders of Trademarks

The relationship between trademarks and other forms of intellectual property, norm-based systems of credit and authorship, and tools for the protection of traditional knowledge is more nuanced than commonly appreciated. This panel explores how these boundaries overlap and "bleed," the hybrid constructs they generate, and the challenges they pose to current legal and commercial conceptions of brands.

Alain Pottage presenting: "The Materiality of Marks"
London School of Economics, Law

Lionel Bentley presenting: "The History of Marks and the Sovereignty of Things"
Cambridge University, Law

Mark Lemley presenting: "Parody as Brand"
Stanford University, Law

Stacey Dogan presenting: "Parody as Brand"
Boston University, Law

Chair: Mario Biagioli
UC Davis, STS & Law


3:45-6:15 p.m.: The Medium is the Brand

Technology intermediaries, from Amazon to Google, ebay to Facebook, and Groupon to Twitter offer new platforms for brand production and dissemination. At the same time, their architectures, from customer reviews to auctions to comparative advertising can undermine the ability of brand owners to fully control their brand. The symbiotic relationship between intermediaries and brands goes further--secondary liability for trademark infringement can stifle technological development itself.

Deven Desai presenting: "An Information Network Approach to Trademarks"
Thomas Jefferson, Law

Graeme Dinwoodie presenting: "Trade Mark Law and Innovation Policy: The Role of Online Intermediaries in Bringing the Two Together"
Oxford University, Law

Peter Menell presenting: "The Interplay of Copyright, Advertising, and Technological Change"
UC Berkeley, Law

Chair: Anupam Chander
UC Davis, Law

6:30 p.m.: Speakers Dinner


Free MCLE Credits Available

Attendees are encouraged to RSVP.  Kindly RSVP HERE.


For more information, please contact Gia Hellwig at