The Trojan Doctrine

Judging from this post, Eugene Volokh is engaging in a Conspiracy to create a search engine monopoly on the term “Trojan Doctrine,” a term which he cleverly coins in a Texas Review of Law and Politics piece:

The Trojan Doctrine, I suggest, should invalidate trademarks if consumers–had they only thought hard about the phrase–wouldn’t dream of buying a product with such an inapt name. One might think of this as a sort of doctrine of “tertiary meaning.†I don’t know what precisely is harmful about such trademarks, but surely there must be something.

He gives several amusing examples, including Rembrandt toothpaste, Random House dictionary, and the product which gives the doctrine its name:

So let us think about Trojan condoms through the deconstructive lens of our equine friend. Here, in brief, is the story of the Trojan horse. Troy withstood the Greeks̢۪ siege for years, managing to keep the invaders outside its portals. But in a moment of weakness, seduced by the Greeks̢۪ deception, Troy opened its gates and let in a large horse. From this horse, in the middle of the night, lots of little men flooded out and destroyed the city.

A fine name for a condom.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.