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HUTCHINSON, PIERCE & CO. V. LOEWY, 217 U. S. 457 (1910)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hutchinson, Pierce & Co. v. Loewy, 217 U.S. 457 (1910)

Hutchinson, Pierce & Co. v. Loewy

No. 182

Argued April 29, 1910

Decided May 16, 1910

217 U.S. 457




In a suit in the Circuit Court under the Trademark Act where diverse citizenship does not exist, the court's jurisdiction extends only to the use of the registered trademark in commerce between the states with foreign nations and the Indian Tribes.

Under §§ 17, 18, of the Trademark Act of February 20, 1905, c. 592, 33 Stat. 724, and 6 of the Circuit Court of Appeals Act of March 3, 1891, c. 51, 26 Stat. 826, a final decision of the circuit court of appeals in a case brought under the Trademark Act can only be reviewed by this Court upon certiorari. Atkins v. Moore, 212 U. S. 284.

Appeal from 163 F. 42 dismissed.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court of an appeal from the circuit court of appeals in a suit brought under the Trademark Act of 1905, are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 459

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was a bill in equity for an injunction and accounting, the complainant alleging the defendant had infringed its technical trademark applied to shirts, and also was guilty of unfair competition. As complainant is a corporation of the State of New York and defendant is a citizen of the same state, the court's jurisdiction extends only to the use of the registered trademark in commerce between the states, with foreign nations, and the Indian tribes.

There was no attempt to prove that defendant had passed off, or intended to pass off, his goods for complainant's, or had made profits, or that complainant had sustained damage. The cause proceeded solely on complainant's ownership of its technical trademark.

The circuit court held that defendant's trademark or brand was clearly distinguishable from that of complainant, and said:

"There is no reasonable probability of the ordinary purchaser being deceived into buying the defendant's manufacture as that of complainant. The rule is well established that a trademark, word, or symbol has the elements of a property right, and may not be unlawfully used by a rival in business, either alone or as an accessory to such prior appropriation, and in such cases a right to injunctive relief follows without proof of confusion of proprietorship, or that buyers have been actually misled by such use. But if a defendant's design or symbol is essentially different and distinguishable in appearance, so

Page 217 U. S. 460

that, by no possibility can his article be taken for complainant's genuine production, a cause of unlawful appropriation is not maintainable. 163 F. 44."

The bill was thereupon dismissed, and, having been taken by appeal to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the decree below was affirmed. 163 F. 42.

Appellants thereupon petitioned for an appeal to this Court, which was allowed.

Sections 17 and 18 of the Act of Congress approved February 20, 1905, in respect to trademarks, reads as follows:

"SEC. 17. That the circuit and territorial courts of the United States and the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia shall have original jurisdiction, and the circuit courts of appeal of the United States and the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia shall have appellate jurisdiction, of all suits at law or in equity respecting trademarks registered in accordance with the provisions of this act, arising under the present act, without regard to the amount in controversy."

"SEC 18. That writs of certiorari may be granted by the Supreme Court of the United States for the review of cases arising under this act in the same manner as provided for patent cases by the act creating the Circuit Court of Appeals."

We are of opinion that this appeal will not lie, and that the remedy by certiorari is exclusive. By the sixth section of the Judiciary Act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, 26 Stat. 826, 828, the final decisions of the circuit courts of appeal are made final "in all cases arising under the patent laws, under the revenue laws, and under the criminal laws and in admiralty cases," with power in this Court to require any such cases to be certified thereto for its review and determination, "with the same power and authority in the case as if it had been carried by appeal or writ of error to the Supreme Court."

We think that the language of § 18 places suits brought under the trademark act plainly within the scope of the act

Page 217 U. S. 461

establishing the Court of Appeals, and that a final decision of that court can be reviewed in this Court only upon certiorari, and that therefore the pending appeal must be dismissed. And this conclusion is sustained by Atkins v. Moore, 212 U. S. 285, 212 U. S. 291.

Appeal dismissed.

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