Privatizing Trademarks

While trademarks promote a competitive and productive marketplace, the Patent and Trademark Office runs the current system of trademark registration as a monopoly of questionable productivity. This Article proposes a system of privatized trademark registration as a solution, with features including: multiple entities serving as registrars; an optional expedited process; and quality-control mechanisms. To explore the viability of trademark privatization, the Article relies on the theoretical privatization literature and practical examples in which government exclusivity has been removed from intellectual-property (and other) decision-making. By challenging the PTO’s monopoly, the Article pursues a more general discussion about improvements to the existing system of trademark registration.