North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

160 Ridge Road

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Trademarks as Entrepreneurial Change Agents for Legal Reform

June 30, 2017

95 N.C. L. Rev. 1519 (2017)


Public distrust of news media and government create an ideal environment for trademarks to emerge as change agents for legal reform. At first glance, it may seem odd to consider the parallels between law and entrepreneurship. Politicians make rules; entrepreneurs break them. Laws delineate the status quo; entrepreneurs succeed when they disrupt it. Despite their differences, these two fields of public engagement have much in common. They both involve constant rethinking and adjustment. Legislatures perpetually rewrite legislation in response to national, state, and local value judgments. Brand communities, like governments, also must change with the values of their constituents or risk irrelevance. 


This Essay proposes that in politically volatile times, corporate groups, nonprofits, universities, and arts organizations will inevitably find themselves forced to choose whether to engage with politics. They may generally prefer to remain politically agnostic. But if their brands are linked with culturally salient core values, the authenticity of that commitment may be tested when prevailing political and cultural norms conflict with brand values. 



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