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WANG, Xiaoren

Wang Xi

Max Weber Fellow 2019-2020

Email: [email protected]
Tel: (+39)-055-4685-683 (ext: 2683)
Office: BF 236

European University Institute
Max Weber Programme
Via dei Roccettini, 9
50014 San Domenico di Fiesole

Departmental affiliation: Law
Mentor: Peter Drahos
Thematic Group: Experimental Methods in Social Sciences


Xiaoren Wang received her J.S.D. (Doctor of the Science of Law) at the University of Illinois in May of 2019.

She is interested in intellectual property law and empirical studies. Her doctoral research focused on the empirical study of aesthetic functionality in US trademark law. She also worked with Professor Paul J. Heald, researching values of copyright in public domains. Before her J.S.D, Xiaoren practiced as a trademark attorney in China for five years. Her business covered counseling on trademark registrations, infringements, counterfeiting and designing trademark strategies for international companies.

During the fellowship, Xiaoren plans to write a paper on the psychological rationales of aesthetic functionality. Aesthetic functionality is the legal ground in US trademark law to reject the trade dress protection which might bring anti-competitive effects. Whether a trade dress is aesthetically functional depends heavily on consumer responses to such trade dress. However, courts’ decisions on this issue are often intuitive and speculative. Few studies systematically research this issue from the psychological aspect. This paper will explore the psychological studies of colors (a sub-category of trade dress) and frame the psychological rationales of aesthetic functionality. Based on the rationales, the paper attempts to propose guideposts to improve the determination of the aesthetic functionality on color trademarks.

Xiaoren has taught junior lawyers China trademark law and practice. She was also well trained in US trademark law and empirical studies. During this fellowship, she would like to teach China trademark law, US trademark law, empirical legal research, or other relevant courses.

Page last updated on 30 August 2019

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