Winston Churchill: The Last Lion and One of the First Proponents of Trademark Coexistence Agreements

AuthorLawrence J. Siskind
Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 12, Number 4, a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2020 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.
Winston Churchill
The Last Lion and One of the
First Proponents of Trademark
Coexistence Agreements
By Lawrence J. Siskind
Although perhaps best known to history as the man who stood up to Hitler, it may come as a
surprise to learn that Winston Churchill, an English journalist, warrior, and statesman, also
made great contributions to trademark law. Churchill was indeed one of the rst proponents
of trademark coexistence agreements.
Trademark Coexistence Agreements
A short primer on trademark coexistence agreements is in order. Trademark coexistence agreements
are peace treaties under which the owners of similar marks agree to forgo war and to divide the mar-
ketplace instead. The division may relate to goods, with one owner, for example, using its mark on
raisins while the other uses its similar mark on oranges. The boundary may be geographic, allowing
one party to market products on the West Coast while the other markets on the East Coast. Or the divi-
sion may involve incorporating subtle distinctions in the marks themselves.
A Tale of Two Churchills
In the case of Churchill—while certainly more modest than saving civilization from Nazi conquest—
his major contribution to trademark law involved a trademark dear to his heart: his own name.
In 1899, the 25-year-old Churchill had already acquired a reputation as an internationally popu-
lar author. His Story of the Malakand Field Force was an engrossing account of the uprising in the
Northwest Frontier of India. His River War recounted the rebellion of the Mahdi and reconquest of
the Sudan. These were campaigns in which Churchill himself played notable parts, and his books
made him something of celebrity. He had also published Savrola, a novel of which he was not par-
ticularly proud, and which sold poorly.
In the spring of that year, Churchill made an important discovery. As he later recounted in his autobi-
ographical Early Life:
I became conscious of the fact that there was another Winston Churchill who also wrote books; appar-
ently he wrote novels, and very good novels too, which achieved an enormous circulation in the United
States. I received from many quarters congratulations on my skill as a writer of ction. I thought at rst
these were due to a belated appreciation of the merits of Savrola. Gradually, I realised that there was
“another Richmond in the eld,” luckily on the other side of the Atlantic.1
This “American Winston Churchill” was indeed a successful author, and a formidable fellow in his own
right. At the Naval Academy, he had been a storied fencer and had captained the eight-oared crew. After
graduation, he became editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, before leaving that post to devote himself full
time to writing novels. He also harbored ambitions to run for ofce in his native state of New Hampshire.
Sufce it to say that when the English Churchill became aware of the American Churchill, the two young
men were on an equal footing, with comparable literary achievements and political aspirations.
Images: GettyImages

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