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School of Law

Professor Uma Suthersanen receives European Communities Trade Mark Association Award 2021

The award was given for a paper on 'An Autonomous EU Functionality Doctrine for Shape Exclusions'.

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Professor Uma Suthersanen, Director of Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute, has received a prize - jointly with her co-author Dr Marc D. Mimler, City, University of London - in the ECTA Awards 2021 for their paper entitled ‘An Autonomous EU Functionality Doctrine for Shape Exclusions (2020)”. The piece was first published in the GRUR International Journal of European and International IP Law (OUP, 2020). In exploring the recent jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the authors proposed that the EU Court was consciously shifting the rationales of design, copyright and trade-mark laws by aligning the functionality doctrines within these three laws. The work shows this shift of judicial policy through examining the various doctrinal and policy reasons underpinning the exclusion of ‘shapes’ from these areas of IP law. We suggest that not only is an EU autonomous functionality doctrine being formed within IP law, but that the Court of Justice is also building a EU macro-rationale for IP based on utilitarian norms namely, market freedom and competition.

ECTA, the European Communities Trade Mark Association, represents over 1500 trade mark practitioners based within the EU. The Awards have been established to strengthen ECTA's links with academics and academic institutions. Prizes are awarded to articles considered to make a significant contribution to the development of intellectual property law, based upon criteria including the depth of research undertaken, breadth and timeliness of the subject matter, quality of writing and originality of ideas.

Read Uma’s article, along with the other award winning publications.