The Lanham Trademark Act

The Lanham Trademark Act, referred to in many countries as the Lanham Act or Trademark Act, is a piece of legislation providing the federal statues and overall regulatory framework for US trademarks. Passed on 5th July 1946, the act is an instrumental tool in ensuring the fair use of marks in the US. All owners of marks used in America are advised to learn the basics of the Lanham Act as it protects trademark rights and offers remedies for infringement.

Features of the Lanham Trademark Act

The Lanham Trademark Act was enacted on 6th July 1947 and is named after the Texas Representative Fritz G. Lanham. The basis for this legislation was to provide clearly defined boundaries at both statutory and common law levels for the use of trademarks and service marks in the US.

The act is broad in scope and prohibits inter alia, the following areas:

  • Infringement of trademark rights
  • Dilution
  • False advertising

The framework of the act is categorized into four main subchapters, of which each chapter is crucial to the comprehensive functioning of the US trademark industry. Last updated in 2005, the sections are as follows:

  • Subchapter I – The Principle Register
  • Subchapter II – The Supplemental Register
  • Subchapter III – General Provisions
  • Subchapter IV – The Madrid Protocol

The act regulates a number of industry areas, the primary ones of which include; US trademark registration, US trade names registration, and the registration of any other US marks used for the representation and identification of a service or good in commerce. In addition, it serves to ensure competitors, the general public and relevant authorities are not confused by the identification of certain goods and services.

One of the main benefits of a US mark is that it enjoys a great level of legal protection from the 1946 act, particularly where the rights of a mark owner have been infringed or where interference issues arise. Not only does the Lanham Act endow mark owners with a set of exclusive rights over the use of it, the act is relevant in every state of America.

Owners of US registered marks are legally required to operate their brand or logo in compliance with the specifications and standards as set by the Lanham Act in order to acquire the protection of the act. Professional consultancy firms and trademark attorneys can help owners to understand the main principles of the act in order to ensure you are aware of your rights and restrictions.