3. Make “Macedonia” part of a composite mark.

The Macedonians have a distinctive coat of arms, unlike anything the Greeks have. Adding the coat of arms to the name creates a “composite trademark,” fostering an entirely different commercial and political impression. In analyzing a mark’s strength, or the possibility of infringement, courts view composite marks as a whole, without dissecting them into their separate parts. So it wouldn’t matter if the name “Macedonia” were confusingly similar to the Greeks’ peripheries. As long as the Macedonians used the coat of arms design with the name, the overall commercial impression would be quite different from the Greeks’ Macedonias.

REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA


4. Use a disclaimer.

Trademark scholars differ on the efficacy of disclaimers to combat confusion. Some say that disclaimers actually increase confusion, since they mention the very subject the mark is supposed to avoid. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit takes a “nuanced view,” allowing them when they might reasonably make a difference.

The problem with disclaimers in the Balkan crisis is that they would have to be used everywhere the name appears: on their seat at the United Nations; at border crossings; on tourist information; on currency; even on statues of national heroes.

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