Powerful brands dominate our transnational landscapes. Brand value-referred to in law as trademark goodwill-is co-created by trademark owners and the consumers of their products and services. Commonly defined as all possible sources of consumer patronage, trademark goodwill is critically important not only for business ability to attract and retain customers, but also for its regulatory capacity to signal process characteristics such as environmental impact or labor standards. This Article focuses on the role of trademark goodwill in signaling sustainability standards as key informational components of corporate social responsibility. In this view of trademark goodwill, brands potentially provide highly public platforms for interaction by firms and their customers to further various public and private policies. Brand value could play a more significant role in conveying robust corporate social responsibility efforts to consumers, thereby creating market-differentiation mechanisms for brand owners, improving firm efficiency, and increasing supply chain sustainability-not to mention contributing to more meaningful choices for consumers participating in now ubiquitous global value networks. In short, trademark goodwill performs a critical public, communicative function and therefore is a key public good within a regulatory governance framework.
Trademark Goodwill as a Public Good: Brands and Innovations in Corporate Social Responsibility, 21 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 277