The IPKat spent most of Friday at the trade mark session of the Fordham conference (where, incidentally, he delivered a paper on how dilution is being both expanded and shrunk by similarity of marks and similarity of goods respectively).
The zeitgeist amongst most of the speakers and panellists was that current trade mark law is in a bit of a mess, with the previous clear confusion standard being replaced by a notion that is at best vague, viz, the need to protect the trade mark's essential function. However, not all the audience, including the IPKat, agreed that things were so bad. Like the IPKat, they were firmly of the belief that European trade mark law has been deliberately has been moved away from protecting against confusion, and now protects a mark's distinctivness in a wider range of situations.
The vagaries of the US trade mark system were also noted. The award for comment of the day must go to David Llewelyn, who commented that it was reassuring to note that at least the Americans are just as confused as the Europeans.