Jacob Siegel Co. v. FTC - 327 U.S. 608 (1946)


U.S. Supreme Court

Jacob Siegel Co. v. FTC, 327 U.S. 608 (1946)

Jacob Siegel Co. v. Federal Trade Commission

No. 605

Argued March 4, 1946

Decided March 25, 1946

327 U.S. 608

Syllabus

In proceedings under § 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Commission found that the use by petitioner of the tradename "Alpacuna" in the marketing of its coats was deceptive and misleading, and ordered petitioner to cease and desist from using it, apparently without considering whether qualifying language would eliminate the deception and satisfy the purposes of the Act without destroying the tradename. On review, the Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Commission's findings were supported by substantial evidence, and affirmed the order, but stated that the prohibition was "far too harsh," and that it would modify the order to permit use of the tradename with qualifying language, if it had authority to do so.

Held:

1. Section 5(c) of the Federal Trade Commission Act does not limit the reviewing court to affirmance or reversal of the Commission's order, but authorizes it to modify the order as well. P. 327 U. S. 611.

2. The power to modify extends to the remedy. Federal Trade Commission v. Royal Milling Co., 288 U. S. 212. P. 327 U. S. 611.

3. While judicial review of such orders is limited, it extends to the question whether the Commission abused its discretion in concluding that no change short of excision of the tradename would give adequate protection. Pp. 327 U. S. 611-612.

4. Since tradenames are valuable business assets, their destruction should not be ordered if less drastic means will accomplish the same result. Federal Trade Commission v. Royal Milling Co., supra. P. 327 U. S. 612.

5. The test is whether some change other than the excision of the tradename would be adequate in the judgment of the Commission. P. 327 U. S. 613.

6. Since the Commission seems not to have considered this point, the courts are not ready to pass on the question whether the limits of its discretion have been exceeded in the choice of the remedy until an administrative determination is made. P. 327 U. S. 614.

7. The judgment is reversed, and the cause is remanded to the Circuit Court of Appeals for further proceedings in conformity with this opinion. P. 327 U. S. 614.

150 F.2d 751, reversed.

Page 327 U. S. 609

The Federal Trade Commission ordered petitioner to cease and desist from using a tradename which it found deceptive and misleading. 36 F.T.C. 563. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 150 F.2d 751. This Court granted certiorari. 326 U.S. 715. Reversed, p. 327 U. S. 614.



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