Monday, December 6, 2021

Seminar on a 19th-Century UK Trademark Prosecution

We have word of a forthcoming online seminar hosted by CREATe (the Research Council funded centre for copyright research at the University of Glasgow, UK) by Dr Elena Cooper, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, CREATe, on “the connections between criminalisation and UK trade mark law in the nineteenth century, through the lens of the late nineteenth century branding history of a particular business: the Jaeger clothing company.”  Dr Jennifer Davis, University of Cambridge, will be the discussant; Dr Luis Porangaba, CREATe, will chair.  Dr. Cooper’s abstract:

Jaeger was established in the UK in 1884 by a City of London businessman, Lewis Tomalin, as a business concerning the manufacture and sale of woollen underwear and clothing. Taking Jaeger's early business history as a focus, the presentation will explore the relationship between branding practices and legal rules regulating the use of trade marks, particularly the criminal law of false marking under the UK Merchandise Marks Act 1887. I will analyse the commercial and legal agreements concerning the use of the Jaeger trade mark, including the relationship of the UK business to a zoologist and physician:  Professor Gustav Jaeger of Stuttgart, Germany. Then, drawing on original archival material, I will uncover the high-profile criminal prosecution of Jaeger in the late nineteenth century, instigated by the Board of Trade (a UK Government Department). Whereas most trade mark prosecutions at this time, involved a trade-mark owner bringing action for unauthorised use of a trade mark by a third party, the Board of Trade's prosecution of Jaeger concerned the application of the criminal law to Jaeger's own branding practices. I will conclude by drawing attention to the way that the specific branding history of Jaeger, takes us to new perspectives on nineteenth century ideas about trade marks (the relationship between trade marks and personality, and trade marks as indicators of geographical origin), as well as the significance of criminalisation to the historical development of trade mark law.  
The Seminar will take place online via zoom on Friday 10th December at 10am UK time. Should you wish to attend, please contact Dr Cooper:

--Dan Ernst