The circularity of legal reasoning in the whole field of unfair competition is veiled by the "thingification" of property. Legal language portrays courts as examining commercial words and finding, somewhere inhering in them, property rights. It is by virtue of the property right which the plaintiff has acquired in the word that he is entitled to an injunction or an award of damages. According to the recognized authorities on the law of unfair competition, courts are not creating property, but are merely recognizing a preexistent Something.
<...> legal reasoning on the subject of trade names is simply economic prejudice masquerading in the cloak of legal logic. The prejudice that identifies the interests of the plaintiff in unfair competition cases with the interest of business and identifies the interests of business with the interests of society, will not be critically examined by courts and legal scholars until it is recognized and formulated. It will not be recognized or formulated so long as the hypostatization of "property rights" conceals the circularity of legal reasoning.