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Functionality

This lesson offers an introduction to the doctrine of functionality, which operates as a defense prohibiting anyone from claiming an exclusive right in functional shapes, elements, or aspects of a product or product packaging. The protectability or registrability of a trademark depends on a factual determination of a design's functionality. The functionality doctrine attempts to weigh the public and private interest in copying design features against a trademark owner's inherently anticompetitive objective to avoid consumer confusion. After completing this lesson, you should be able to analyze when the interest in avoiding confusion will outweigh the interest of free competition and vice versa.

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