CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 6215, a bill to amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to correct an error in the provisions relating to remedies for dilution, as amended, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on July 26, 2012, by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
H.R. 6215 would correct a 2006 clerical error in the Federal Trademark Dilution Act. Left uncorrected, the technical error could encourage owners of phony trademarks to compromise the worth of famous and distinctive marks that are otherwise protected by the law.
Under current law, the owner of a famous trademark can bring a suit against another trademark owner alleging dilution when the other trademark impairs the distinctiveness or harms the reputation of the famous trademark. For example, the owner of a trademark for a famous handbag could sue another company that begins using the trademark to refer to laundry detergent. However, certain dilution claims are disallowed in both federal and state courts if the person being sued holds a registered trademark. H.R. 6215 would continue the prohibition of those claims in state courts, but allow the claims to go forward in federal court.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 6215 would have no significant cost to the federal government. Further, enacting H.R. 6215 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.