Trademarks Are Not Intellectual Property in Bankruptcy Cases, So Circuits Are Split on What Happens upon Rejection of Trademark Licenses

AuthorJohn R. Knapp, Jr.
PositionJohn R. Knapp, Jr. is a partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP in Seattle, Washington. He regularly advises licensors and other parties to executory contracts and unexpired leases on their rights in bankruptcy cases. He may be reached at john.knapp@millernash.com.
Pages36-65
Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 10, Number 6 , a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2018 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.
This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
Image: iStockPhoto
Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 10, Number 6, a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2018 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.
This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
TRADEMARKS
ARE NOT
INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTY IN
BANKRUPTCY
CASES
So Circuits Are Split on What Happens
upon Rejection of Trademark Licenses
By John R. Knapp, Jr.
W ords have meaning. In federal statutes, Congress gets to dene them. And in the world of federal bankruptcy law,
intellectual property does not mean trademarks. Congress intentionally excluded trademarks from the denition
of the term as it is used in the Bankruptcy Code.1 Intellectual property is only any “(A)trade secret; (B)invention,
process, design, or plant protected under title 35 [United States Code]; (C)patent application; (D)plant variety;
(E)work of authorship protected under title 17 [United States Code]; or (F)mask work2 protected under chapter 9
of title 17 [United States Code]; to the extent protected by applicable nonbankruptcy law.3

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