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86 Trademark Rep. 442 (1996)
The Lanham Trademark Act at Fifty - Some History and Comment

handle is hein.journals/thetmr86 and id is 464 raw text is: Vol. 86 TMR

By Beverly W. Pattishall*
The Lanham Trademark Act, which materially advanced and
improved United States trademark and related trade identity law,
was signed into law fifty years ago on July 5, 1946. Its author
was the late Edward S. Rogers, a prominent Chicago lawyer, a
specialist in trade identity law, and this author's then senior
partner. He had drafted it over several years as part of his
American Bar Association activity. Fritz G. Lanham, a Texas
congressman and businessman, had encountered some difficulties
in obtaining what he considered satisfactory protection for his own
and others' trademarks. He learned of the Rogers draft statute,
thought highly of it, and introduced it in 1938 as H.R. 1654 in the
75th Congress. Report No. 1333 of the Senate Committee on
Patents noted that the bill has for its purpose the codification of
all existing trademark statutes, the carrying out by statute of our
international commitments, the modernization of the trademark
statutes, remedying constructions of the present statutes, and the
simplification of trademark practice. Almost without alteration,
that bill became the Lanham Trademark Act, but, with various
distractions, including World War II, the Act lay pending for over
eight years before becoming law.1
The Lanham Act's broad approach to defining what can be a
trademark-essentially any word, name, symbol or device used to
identify or distinguish one's goods-is responsive to the needs of
commerce and has long stood in contrast to the restrictive,
hypertechnical trademark laws of many other countries.
Among the Act's other new features were:
(1) Providing that registration on the Principal Register or
under the 1881 or 1905 Acts shall be constructive notice
of the registrant's claim of ownership thereof;
(2) Allowance of concurrent use registrations;
(3) Registration of service marks;
* Partner in the firm of Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson,
Chicago, Illinois, Associate Member of the International Trademark Association. The
author is indebted to his partner, Robert W. Sacoff, Esq., of the Chicago Bar for his many
scholarly and creative contributions to this paper.
1. For additional historical background see: Beverly W. Pattishall, The Lanham
Trademark Act-Its Impact Over Four Decades, 76 TMR 193 (1986).


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