China, U.S., trademarks, censorship, COVID-19, pandemic

Document Type



During the devastating year of 2020, China quickly conquered the novel coronavirus and roared back economically while the United States faced staggering deaths and economic losses. But underneath the divergent experience of the two countries is an untold story of trademark and censorship in the time of COVID-19. This Article observes that while the United States Supreme Court has lifted the ban on trademark registrations for unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, opening the door for offensive COVID-19 trademark applications, China has transformed trademark law into the law for censorship as Chinese authorities press forward to achieve twin victories over the coronavirus and the economy. This Article argues that as the pandemic hastens China's replacing the United States as the number one economic power by 2028, China's retooling of trademark law for censorship purposes will have a profound impact on the modern normative understanding of trademarks, shaping trademarks as communicative weapons that must be destroyed so collective memories associated with such marks may be erased.



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