Research Summary September 2010

This summer afforded me an excellent opportunity to begin research on my Honors Thesis from May through August. I had the opportunity to stay at William & Mary and have frequent meetings with my primary thesis adviser, Dr. Anne H. Charity Hudley, and access the variety of resources provided by both Swem Library and the Law Library.

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The Intangible Assets of Brand

Moore (2003) writes on the notion exactly what constitutes brand and how brand is created by marketers and perceived by consumers. His article in the journal Language & Communication, entitled “From genericide to viral marketing: on ‘brand,'” attempts to portray brand as “an inherently unstable composite of tangible (e.g. product) and intangible (e.g. brand name) values” (331) and he makes use of a Peircean semiotic framework in order to demonstrate the ways in which this is true.

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Buying into the Brand

The concept of a brand is that some of a company’s value comes not from the usefulness of its products but from all the other qualities that buyers associate with it. Nike is youth, vitality, and sexy energy. By purchasing the brand, customers participate in those qualities. Nokia is elegant and so up-to-the-minute as to be almost futuristic. Ralph Lauren’s Polo brand is languorously aristocratic – at ease, diffident, and in command. Wearing or wielding one of these brands imparts some of the same qualities to the buyer, in others’ eyes or in her own.

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The Mental Lexicon

Understanding how words are made and change over time is crucial to understanding how peoples’ understandings and reactions to them may also change over time.

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The Language of Consumerism: What the Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents tells us about foreign language assumptions in trademark law.

Hi!

My name is Brian Focarino. I am a junior at the College double majoring in linguistics and government. My summer reserach, which will provide the foundations for my senior honors thesis, focus on an area of trademark and intellectual property law known as the Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents!

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