G. & C. Merriam Co. v. Syndicate Publishing Co.,
237 U.S. 618 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

G. & C. Merriam Co. v. Syndicate Publishing Co., 237 U.S. 618 (1915)

G. & C. Merriam Co. v. Syndicate Publishing Company

No. 217

Argued April 14, 1915

Decided June 1, 1915

237 U.S. 618


In a case where diverse citizenship exists, the decree of the circuit court of appeals is final unless, in addition to the allegations of diverse citizenship, the bill contains averments of a cause of action, and consequent basis of jurisdiction, arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States.

If the jurisdiction of the district court was invoked on the ground of diversity of citizenship, and averments as to a federal right are unsustainable and frivolous, or foreclosed by former adjudication of this Court, the appeal from the judgment of the circuit court of appeals must be dismissed.

Where the jurisdiction below rests on diverse citizenship, averments of unfair trade which do not contain any elements of a cause of action under the federal Constitution or statutory law afford no basis for jurisdiction of this Court of an appeal from the decree of the circuit court of appeals.

Page 237 U. S. 619

The Trademark Act of 1881 expressly denied the right of an applicant to obtain a trademark on his own name, or to acquire in a proper name trademark rights not recognized at common law.

The Trademark Act of 1905 does recognize the right to obtain trademarks in a proper name when the same has been in use under specified condition for ten years, but makes the judgment of the circuit court of appeals final in cases arising under the Act. Street & Smith v. Atlas Co., 231 U. S. 348.

As is the case with patents, so after the expiration of copyright securing the exclusive right of publication, the further use of the name by which the publication was known and sold cannot be acquired by registration as a trademark. Merriam v. Hollaway Co., 43 F. 450, approved, and see Jane v. Singer Manufacturing Co., 163 U. S. 169.

The word "Webster" was not subject to registration as a trademark under the Act of 1881, and a contention based on an attempted registration affords no jurisdiction for this Court to review a judgment of the circuit court of appeal, having been precluded by prior decisions of this Court.

Appeal from 207 F. 515 dismissed.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court of appeals from judgments of the circuit court of appeals, in cases involving rights under the Trademark Acts of 1881 and 1905, are stated in the opinion.

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