Lanham Act

What does Lanham Act mean?

The Lanham Trademark Act was passed on July 5, 1946, and later signed by President Harry Truman. The purpose of the Lanham Act was to prohibit trademark dilution, trademark infringement, and false advertising. While the Lanham Act codified several statutes which govern trademark law there are other laws and statutes which also offer additional trademark protections.

False Advertising and the Lanham Act

The Lanham Act has also been used as the basis for lawsuits brought by business competitors against other advertisers for false advertising claims. For instance, a company may sue another competitor and may win their suit if they can prove the advertiser has been making false claims, the claims affect a large segment of the population, the product is sold in several states, the competitor faces harm by the advertising, and the false advertising was critical to the claim. The Lanham Act only allows competitors, not consumers, to sue for false advertising.

In recent years more court cases between competitors have been filed under the Lanham Act claiming false advertising. While consumers do not have the ability to file such claims, proponents of the law claim that competitor litigation could benefit the consumer "who may find commercial statements more reliable."

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