Abstract: This paper explores the growing importance of information-based “private governance” that incorporates elements of intellectual property and environmental law. Trademarks are deeply implicated in forms of private environmental governance that have emerged in response to economic globalization. These developments challenge the prevailing theory of trademarks and its viability in a world where markets, politics, and social policy are intertwined.  At the same time, battles over the scope of trademark rights— ignited by overreaching corporate branding strategies—have elevated a reactionary turn in trademark theory that reduces trademarks solely to their source-identification function. The paper argues that public interests, specifically environmental quality and sustainability, impacted by globalized markets also merit consideration, and that the normative ends of private environmental governance should factor into trademark policy.

Graeme Austin is a Professor of Law, Melbourne University and Chair of Private Law, Victoria University of Wellington. He is a graduate of Columbia University Law School (JSD and LLM) and from Victoria University of Wellington. At Columbia he was the Burton Fellow in Residence in Intellectual Property. Before returning to New Zealand in 2010, he was the J. Byron McCormick Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, where he co-convened the intellectual property programme.  In 2014, he was the Yong Shook Lin Visiting Professor of Intellectual Property at the National University of Singapore teaching private international law and intellectual property, and, in 2017 he will be the Lionel Sheridan Visiting Professor at NUS.   An elected Member of the American Law Institute, he was appointed as an Advisor to its panel on Principles Governing Jurisdiction, Choice of Law, and Judgments in Transnational Disputes.  He has been a Herchel Smith Lecturer at Cambridge University, and in 2017 he will be a visitor at Oxford University under the Myers/Oxford fellowship.

The OIPRC Speaker Series:

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.

Refreshments and snacks are served at the conclusion of the discussion.  All are welcome.
This year’s schedule evolves throughout the year, but a 2016 - 2017 listing is available here.