Indiana Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2016

Publication Citation

91 Indiana Law Journal 549 (2016)


This Note investigates the origins of Inwood that led to the slim opinion with wide influence. It argues that the very vagueness for which scholars and practitioners have decried Inwood is the case's greatest virtue: Inwood provides a flexible standard that has allowed the common law to evolve and address new business models. Part I discusses the origins of contributory infringement in intellectual property. Part II investigates the Inwood case and the climate of trademark law at the time Inwood was litigated. It also dissects the majority opinion and Justice White's concurrance. Part III examines the Inwood standard's evolution at common law to address new business models springing from the Internet, namely online service providers such at Google and eBay. This Note concludes by suggesting that Inwood's vague standard has allowed the necessary flexibility for the development of secondary liability in trademark cases at common law.