Coca-Cola Co. v. Koke Co. - 254 U.S. 143 (1920)
U.S. Supreme Court
Coca-Cola Co. v. Koke Co., 254 U.S. 143 (1920)
The Coca-Cola Company v. The Koke Company of America
Argued November 18, 19, 1920
Decided December 6, 1920
254 U.S. 143
The defense that the plaintiff's trademark and advertisements convey fraudulent representations to the public affords but a narrow ground for refusing injunctive relief against an infringer who seeks to reap the advantages of the plaintiff's goodwill, and the defense must be carefully scrutinized. P. 254 U. S. 145.
As respects this defense, the plaintiff's position must be judged by the facts as they were when the suit was begun, not by the facts of a different condition and an earlier time. P. 254 U. S. 147.
Plaintiff's beverage, widely sold under the name "Coca-Cola," with
a picture of coca leaves and cola nut on the labels, and containing certain harmless extractives from coca leave and cola nut, claimed to add flavor, with some caffein from the nuts and more superadded, originally contained also some cocaine derived from the coca leave, and was once advertised a an "ideal nerve tonic and stimulant," but, long before this suit began, cocaine was eliminated, the article was advertised and sold as a beverage only, free from cocaine, and, for the public generally, the name came to signify the beverage itself, the plaintiff's product, rather than its ingredients. Held, that the continued use of the name with the picture was not a fraud depriving the plaintiff of the right to enjoin infringement and unfair competition in selling a like preparation under the name of "Koke," but that the injunction should not restrain use of the name "Dope," a featureless word not specifically suggestive of "Coca Cola" by similarity or in use, nor forbid manufacture and sale of the product, including the coloring matter. P. 254 U. S. 145.
55 F. 894 reversed.
The case is stated in the opinion.