American Steel Foundries v. Robertson - 269 U.S. 372 (1926)
U.S. Supreme Court
American Steel Foundries v. Robertson, 269 U.S. 372 (1926)
American Steel Foundries v. Robertson
Argued November 16, 17, 1925
Decided January 4, 1926
269 U.S. 372
1. The mere fact that one person has adopted and used a trademark on his goods does not prevent the adoption and use of the same trademark by others on articles of a different description. P. 269 U. S. 379.
2. The law of trademarks is but a part of the broader law of unfair competition, the general purpose of which is to prevent one person from passing off his goods or his business as the goods or business of another. Id.
3. Whether the name of a corporation be regarded as a trademark, a tradename, or both, the law affords protection against its appropriation on the same fundamental principles. P. 269 U. S. 380.
4. The effect of assuming a name by a corporation under the law of its creation is to exclusively appropriate it as an element of the corporation's existence. Id.
5. Equity will enjoin the appropriation and use by another of a trademark or tradename resembling the name of a corporation where, from the closeness of the resemblance and the other facts of the particular case, it appears that confusion of identity may likely result to the injury of such corporation. P. 269 U. S. 381.
6. The provision of § 5 of the Trade Mark Act of February 20, 1905, that no mark consisting merely of the name of a corporation shall be registered under the Act is to be construed in harmony with the foregoing principles, and does not prevent registration of part of the name of a corporation where the partial appropriation is
unlikely to deceive or confuse the public to the injury of the corporation to which the name belongs. P. 269 U. S. 381.
7. The fact that the word "Simplex" was a salient part of the name of a corporation other than the applicant for registration held not a ground for refusing registration where the good to which it was applied by the applicant were unlike those manufactured or sold by the corporation, where many registrations of the same word, singly or in combination, had been made by others for other goods, and where it did not appear that, standing alone, the word denoted that corporation or any other to the mind of the public. P. 269 U. S. 382.
Response to questions certified by the circuit court of appeals upon appeal to that court from a decree of the district court dismissing the bill in a suit under Rev.Stats. § 4915 brought by the American Steel Foundries against the Commissioner of Patents and Simplex Electric Heating Co. to enforce registration of the word "Simplex" as a trademark for articles made and sold by the plaintiff. See 262 U. S. 262 U.S. 209; 256 U. S. 256 U.S. 40; 258 F. 160.