This research aims to examine a number of legal sources for evidence that US marketers were interested in protecting their brand identities in the 1800s.
The research examines historical legal records including registrations for commercial prints and labels, design patents and trademarks as well as other legal records. The work discusses the evolution of the concept of brand identity by examining various legal methods that were used to try to protect brand identity from imitation.
The research suggests that marketer interest in the development and protection of brand identity preceded the US Civil War and confirms that this interest was led by marketers of patent medicines, tobacco and liquor. However, the study also demonstrates strong interest by marketers of many other types of products from disposable products to durable manufactured items.
Many original records were lost in the 1836 Patent Office fire or have been simply lost. Some of the databases examined are too large to be comprehensively examined.
The examination of legal records from this period of uncertainty shows how the practice of brand identification led to the concept of brand identity: the legal data examined offer a wealth of information for marketing historians.
Petty, R. (2012), "From label to trademark: The legal origins of the concept of brand identity in nineteenth century America", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 129-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/17557501211195091Download as .RIS
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