The filing of new trademark applications often reveals information about new products or services that companies intend to launch in the (near) future. We explore the phenomenon of "submarine trademarks" in the U.S. -- submarine trademarks are trademarks (a) whose publication and hence disclosure to the public is delayed and/or (b) which are filed by shell companies instead of the company that intents to use them in commerce. Submarine trademarks are the result of a particular filing strategy: trademarks are first filed in foreign jurisdictions that do not publish applications online. Applicants then file the same trademark application within six months at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where the application is eventually published and hence disclosed to the public. Once filed in the U.S., however, legal protection of the trademark dates back to the filing date in the foreign jurisdiction. To further conceal the trademark filing even when it is published by the USPTO, companies often rely on shell companies for the filing of a trademark. These submarine strategies allow companies to benefit from increased legal protection while reducing the risk of inadvertent disclosure. We document this filing strategy and show that it is pursued primarily by a small number of well-known U.S. high-tech companies. We then explore the determinants of companies pursuing this strategy and its impact on companies.


Each year the OIPRC hosts a number of leading academics from around the world as part of its Invited Speaker Series. These events typically run from 5:15-6:45pm on Thursday evenings at St. Peter’s College; if the venue or time is different, it will be noted on the Events calendar.  The Speaker Series consists of a presentation of about 45 minutes, followed by a Q&A session with the assembled group of academic staff, students (both undergraduate and graduate), researchers, and interested members of the public.  Discussion is informal and includes participants from several disciplines, with a wide range of prior knowledge.

Convenors: Graeme DinwoodieDev Gangjee and Robert Pitkethly

Refreshments and snacks are served at the conclusion of the discussion.  All are welcome.