skip to content

Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law

Thursday, 6 July 2017

On June 22, Dr Jennifer Davis gave the Keynote Lecture at the conference: "Moralising Commerce in a Globalising World. Multidisciplinary Approaches to a History of Economic Conscience, 1600-1900" at the German Historical Institute London. The conference set out to ask: "How and when does (and did) awareness of one’s material stake in an aspect of global trade prompt awareness of ethical implication and/or moral-political engagement? How and when have those who benefited from business enterprises with human or environmental costs indirectly, at second hand, or as subaltern agents come to reflect on the nature of the business?"

Jennifer's talk was entitled: "Trade (mark) Wars, 1860-1920: Sweatshops, the Retail Trade and the Meaning of Trade Marks in Britain".  It noted that a registered trade mark acts an indication of origin for goods but tells us nothing specific about the circumstances under which the goods originated. The lecture described changes in production and consumption during this period and showed how as a result representatives of labour saw their position in the workplace undermined, not least by this narrow definition of a trade mark and how they sought to resist through political lobbying, boycotts and the use of the trade union label.