TM Law Obstacles To Challenging Cultural Appropriation

Law360 (September 9, 2019, 4:08 PM EDT) -- Recently, Kim Kardashian made headlines with the announcement of her application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “Kimono” as a trademark for identifying her new line of “shapewear.” Following a wave of controversy and criticism, primarily from the Japanese community in Japan and the U.S., but also from others, she abandoned her effort.[1]

Although the immediate controversy has subsided, Kardashian’s truncated "Kimono" effort has refocused attention and renewed debate on cultural appropriation and its relationship to trademark law. This article discusses potential use of trademark laws to facilitate appropriation of names, symbols, objects, features and attributes that can...

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