When a trademark registered with the Patent and Trademark Office is infringed, section 32 of the Lanham Act provides the trade- mark registrant the opportunity to seek remedies in federal court. Thanks to a broad definition of “registrant,” the Act in fact extends standing beyond the registrant herself to her “legal representatives,” among others. This language has prompted courts to puzzle over the proper definition of a “legal representative.” Through their varying interpretations, they have erected unpredictable barriers to standing in the trademark-infringement context. Affording most attention to the Second Circuit’s recent decision to deny standing to a claimed legal representative of the Russian Federation, this Note critically examines the different “legal representative” definitions proffered by the courts in light of standing doctrine and the Lanham Act’s history. Concluding that the proper “legal representative” definition reflects the goals of the Lanham Act’s architects and, to best do so, is bound only by constitutional standing constraints, this Note advocates for a low barrier to third-party standing.
Columbia Law Review CONFUSION LIKELY: STANDING REQUIREMENTS FOR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES UNDER THE LANHAM ACT