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Trademark Ownership: Distributors Versus Manufacturers

Published in Managing Intellectual Property
Article | June 2017

This article discusses the test established by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Covertech Fabricating, Inc. v. TVM Building Products, Inc. et al for determining whether a manufacturer or its exclusive distributor is the proper owner of a trademark when no written contract is in place between the two parties. In Covertech, the court held that in such situations, there is a presumption that the manufacturer is the owner, but that the distributor can rebut such a presumption based on the consideration of a multi-factor test, discussed further in the article. The case serves as an important reminder for companies to formalize distribution arrangements and memorialize ownership of a trademark. (Read "Trademark Ownership: Distributors Versus Manufacturers," Mid-Year 2017)

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