Rothman on Initial Interest Confusion

By Eric Goldman

Jennifer Rothman, a new full-time law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has published Initial Interest Confusion: Standing at the Crossroads of Trademark Law, 27 Cardozo L. Rev. 105 (2005). She uses the initial interest confusion doctrine to muse about the loose policy rationales for expansive trademark law doctrines, but she gets right to her bottom line in her introduction:

“This Article provides a wake-up call to courts, Congress, the online

and offline business communities, and the public. Initial interest

confusion must be revisited and replaced.”

(A familiar refrain for regular readers of this blog!)

UPDATE: For more of the same, see Glazer & Dhamija, Revisiting Initial Interest Confusion on the Internet, 95 Trademark Reporter 952 (2005). The authors say: “the reported decisions make clear that there is no need for an initial interest confusion ‘doctrine’ to address any harm that may result from the unauthorized use of another’s mark on the Internet to capture consumer attention. Traditional remedies available in trademark law suffice.”