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COLUMBIA MILL CO. V. ALCORN, 150 U. S. 460 (1893)

U.S. Supreme Court

Columbia Mill Co. v. Alcorn, 150 U.S. 460 (1893)

Columbia Mill Company v. Alcorn

No. 115

Submitted November 24, 1898

Decided December 4, 1893

150 U.S. 460


A person cannot acquire a right to the exclusive use of the word "Columbia" as a trademark.

To acquire a right to the exclusive use of a name, device, or symbol as a trademark, it mast appear that it was adopted for the purpose of identifying the origin or ownership of the article to which it is attached, or

Page 150 U. S. 461

that such trademark points distinctively to the origin, manufacture, or ownership of the article on which it is stamped, and is designed to indicate the owner or producer of the commodity and to distinguish it from like articles manufactured by others.

If a device, mark, or symbol is adopted or placed upon an article for the purpose of identifying its class, grade, style, or quality, or for any purpose other than a reference to or indication of its ownership, it cannot be sustained as a valid trademark.

The exclusive right to the use of a mark or device claimed as a trademark is founded on priority of appropriation, and it must appear that the claimant of it was the first to use or employ it on like articles of production.

A trademark cannot consist of words in common use as designating locality, section, or region of country.

In the case of an alleged violation of a valid trademark, the similarity of brands must be such as to mislead ordinary observers in order to justify a restraining injunction.

In equity to restrain an alleged violation of a trademark. Decree dismissing the bill, from which complainant appealed. The case is stated in the opinion.

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