McKenzie Subart


This Comment analyzes which trademark model (the pyramid model or the box model) is a better representation and characterization of trademarks and trademark rights. Under the pyramid model, there is one trademark: both common law rights and federal registration rights attach to this single trademark. For the pyramid model, trademark rights resemble a pyramid because federal registration rights build upon the foundation created by common law rights. Common law rights and federal registration rights are interdependent. Under the box model, there is a common-law trademark and a federal trademark: common law rights attach to the common-law trademark, and federal registration rights attach to the federal trademark. For the box model, trademark rights resemble two separate boxes because the first box contains common law rights, and the second box contains federal registration rights. Common law rights are independent of federal registration rights. Finally, this Comment concludes that the Federal Circuit, in Converse, Inc v. International Trade Commission, got it right; trademarks should be viewed in the context of the pyramid model.