Jacobs v. Beecham - 221 U.S. 263 (1911)
U.S. Supreme Court
Jacobs v. Beecham, 221 U.S. 263 (1911)
Jacobs v. Beecham
Argued April 21, 24, 1911
Decided May 15, 1911
221 U.S. 263
Corruptio optimi pessima. Sound general principles should not be turned to support a conclusion manifestly improper.
Even if the burden of proof is on one manufacturing a named article under a secret formula to prove that one selling an article by the same name is not manufacturing under that formula, there is a prima facie presumption of difference which protects the owner without requiring him to give up the secret.
The burden is on a defendant who uses plaintiff's tradename to justify the using thereof.
Where the name of the originator has not left him to travel with the goods, the name remains with the manufacturer as an expression of source, and not of character.
The word "Beecham's," as used in connection with pills manufactured by the party of that name, is not generic as to the article manufactured, but individual as to the producer, and one calling his product by the same name is guilty of unfair trade even if he states that he, and not Beecham, makes them.
The word "patent" as used in connection with medicines does not mean that the article is patented, but that it is proprietary, and there is no fraud on the public in using the word in that sense although the article has not been patented. 1,
The proprietor of a valuable article will not be deprived of protection against unfair trade because of certain trivial misstatements as to place of manufacture and Christian name of manufacturer when both statements were true at one time and it does not appear that the public have been improperly misled.
159 F. 129 affirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.