9
Mar/04

World Wide Mall


Interesting article on the history of shopping malls in America, via The New Yorker.  Blog readers following the development of the law of ‘brand as navigator’ (the catchphrase I apply to domain name, meta-tag and keyword cases), know that an implicit question in these cases is: who owns the traffic?  Two bits in the article may be of particular interest.  The first is the discussion of ‘adjacencies,’ the practice of placing competitors close to each other, in the belief that there is a mutually beneficial result.  The other is the following passage:

. . . well-run department stores are the engines of malls. They have powerful brand names, advertise heavily, and carry extensive cosmetics lines (shopping malls are, at bottom, delivery systems for lipstick)—all of which generate enormous shopping traffic. The point of a mall—the reason so many stores are clustered together in one building—is to allow smaller, less powerful retailers to share in that traffic. A shopping center is an exercise in coöperative capitalism. It is considered successful (and the mall owner makes the most money) when the maximum number of department-store customers are lured into the mall.

Essay question: Does this observation suggest a policy argument with regard to how Initial Interest Confusion docitrine should be applied in Brand as Navigator cases?

 

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