Talk Notes: Death of the Initial Interest Confusion Doctrine?

By Eric Goldman

As you may know, the IP professor community is blessed to have a number of “work-in-progress” events where we share our research-in-process with, and get early feedback from, our peers. Last weekend, I attended one of those events, WIPIP, at the University of Houston.

I presented a talk entitled “Death of the Initial Interest Confusion Doctrine?” My presentation slides. The talk traces its roots to my ad hoc observations, starting in 2010, that:

1) courts were citing the initial interest confusion doctrine with noticeably less frequency,

2) when they did reference the doctrine, many opinions just made a cursory non-substantive reference, and

3) plaintiffs were rarely getting any traction with their IIC arguments.

2011 undermined these observations some, especially the Teachbook and Pillow Pet cases. So now I’m trying to figure out where to take this research project.