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JILT 2005(1) - Trademarks in the Digital Age

Trademarks in the Digital Age



Timothy Wherry
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN 0810849755
Cost £32.58

Trademarks in the Digital Age is a short book on a very specific topic; it is an instructional guide to how to use the United States Patent and Trademarks Office’s online search and application facilities. Unfortunately this is not what one might be led to expect from the title and I cannot help but think some readers will be disappointed.

Leaving aside the appropriateness or otherwise of the title, this is a very easy to read book aimed at those with little knowledge of intellectual property law who find themselves asked to register a trademark. When I was in just that position a couple of years ago, I would very much have welcomed an English version of this book. Even though the book is dealing with US trademarks and IP law, the first two chapters in particular are useful background reading for the novice. The first chapter is The Value of Trademarks and the second What is a Trademark.

The middle part of the book provides instruction on how to search for existing registered trademarks using the USPTO website. The reader is guided through some example searches for well-known trademarks, including the Rolls Royce Flying Lady and the symbol used by the artist formally known as Prince. I did struggle a little at first to follow the examples but persevered and was able to carry out some other searches successfully by myself afterwards.

Having learned how to search for trademarks, there is then a chapter dealing with the application process. Surprisingly, it the traditional paper application form that is recommended and discussed in detail. The online application forms are apparently very complicated and get no further mention. This does seem rather strange but one suspects that Timothy Wherry may have tried and abandoned the electronic application process.

The rest of the book contains a useful question and answer section and reference information, such as the location of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries for those who prefer to search physical records.

Plenty of illustrations and the use of cases keep the reader interested and the fact that it is so short, at just 90 pages, make this an accessible book. However, I do think there are some areas that could have been covered more fully. Domain names, for example, are explored very briefly and there is no mention of cyber-squatting or the dispute resolution procedures. Both of which would seem to be fairly important issues.

My overall impression of Trademarks in the Digital Age is of a practical concise guide for anyone who needs to register a US trademark where there are no complicating factors.

Christine Cooper is the Technical Infrastructure Manager at the London School of Economics.
She can be reached at: <>.


This is a Book Review published on 22 August 2005.

Citation: Cooper, ' Trademarks in the Digital Age’, Book Review, 2005 (1) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT).<>.