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Intellectual Property Research Guide: Trademarks

Where to look in the library

Intellectual Property materials are generally found in the call number range KF2971-KF3193.

Books are on 10 or in Academic Success on 6 (and in rare cases, on reserve on 6).

Related Subject Headings include:

Intellectual property -- United States

Trademarks -- Law and legislation -- United States

Trade secrets -- United States

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A trademark identifies the source, origin, or sponsorship of goods or services, and may take the form of a word, phrase, or symbol. To possess a trademark is to have exclusive right, under law, to use the mark. Today trademarks may be registered under either federal or state law, in the former case with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), in the latter case usually with the Secretary of State or some similar state official.

Trademark law developed from the law of unfair competition, which had roots in the common law of fraud and deceit. In contrast with the law of copyright and patents, there is no specific provision in the Constitution for trademarks. Nevertheless, during the nineteenth century, Congress enacted a federal structure for the registration and protection of trademarks.  The earliest federal trademark laws were held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the Trademark Cases, 100 U.S. 82 (1879). Afterward, Congress passed another trademark act in 1881, revised in 1905 and 1920.

The federal statute now in effect is the Trademark Act of 1946, or the Lanham Act, 60 Stat. 427. The Lanham Act sustains a federal system of registration and protection for trademarks "used in commerce," and is designed to permit the coexistence of such systems under state law. The Lanham Act was significantly amended by the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, 98 Stat. 2179, the Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988, 102 Stat. 3935, the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act (1992), 106 Stat. 3567, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (1994), 108 Stat. 4989, the Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1995, 110 Stat. 985, the Trademark Law Treaty Implementation Act (1998), 112 Stat. 3064, and the Trademark Amendments Act of 1999, 113 Stat. 218. Generally, the Lanham Act as amended is codified at 15 USC Sections 1051-1127.


BNA Library

A great starting point is the BNA library (also on Lexis and Westlaw), including

  • Titles 35 (Patents) and 17 (Copyrights), and selected parts of Title 15 (Trademarks in Chapter 22 and Technology Innovation in Chapter 63) of the U.S. Code;
  • Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations; 
  • Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal (BNA), a news and analysis serives, available as a daily email alert
  • Related treatises
  • United States Patent Quarterly from 1929 to the present.


The CCH library includes

  • The Copyright Law Reporter
  • The Trademark Law Guide

Lexis and Westlaw

Both Lexis and Westlaw have subject-specific tabs that can be added to your personal page to help focus your research. Be aware that not all resources listed will be available via John Marshall's academic subscription.

General IP Treatises

Jay Dratler, Jr., Intellectual Property Law: Commercial, Creative, and Industrial Property (1991-date) KF2979 .D72, available in Westlaw

Michael A. Epstein, Epstein on Intellectual Property (5th ed. 2005-date)  KF 2976.5 E67

Roger E. Schechter & John R. Thomas, Intellectual Property: The Law of Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks (2003) - KF2980 .S3 2003

Trademark-Specific Treatises

J. Thomas McCarthy, McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition (4th ed. 1996-date)  KF3180 .M127 , available in Westlaw

Siegrun D. Kane, Kane on Trademark Law: A Practitioner’s Guide (5th ed. 2007-date)  KF3180 .K35

Some of the IP Academic Success Books

The library has many of IP-related study guides in the Academic Success collection on the 6th Floor.