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Trade Marks and the Third Dimension: Implications of 3D Printing in the Likelihood of Confusion of Three-Dimensional Trade Marks

Andersin, Atte

Opinnäytetyöt , Gradut ja muut tutkielmat

Tiivistelmä

Likelihood of confusion in trade mark law protects the proprietor of an earlier trade mark from the use of similar marks in the course of trade in situations where the similarity of the marks is likely to induce confusion, in the eyes of the relevant public, as to the origin of the goods or services. Assessment of likelihood of confusion and the criteria related thereto are notably complicated and ambiguous due to the wide wording of the relevant provisions and incoherent legal praxis. This treatise inspects the aforementioned concept in the context of three-dimensional trade marks and 3D printing, systematises it in a digital context and identifies particular problems in the legal evaluation emanating from new technology. Furthermore, criteria that need to be considered when assessing likelihood of confusion in connection with 3D printing, are identified. Even though 3D printing is unlikely to significantly affect the main process of assessing likelihood of confusion, the thesis points out certain factors that need to be clarified by case law or the legislature in order to enhance legal certainty and promote innovation and emerging business models, in both 3D printing and other fields of business.
The topics are, for the most part, assessed from the trade mark proprietors’ point of view.

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