William R. Warner & Co. v. Eli Lilly & Co.,
265 U.S. 526 (1924)

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U.S. Supreme Court

William R. Warner & Co. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 265 U.S. 526 (1924)

William R. Warner & Company v. Eli Lilly & Company

No. 32

Argued April 28, 29, 1924

Decided June 9, 1924

265 U.S. 526


1. Names which are merely descriptive of the ingredients, qualities, or characteristics of an article of trade, such as the names "Coco-Quinine" and "Quin-Coco," applied to a liquid preparation of quinine in combination with chocolate and other things, cannot be appropriated as trademarks. P. 265 U. S. 528.

2. The use of a name similar to that already employed by another, truthfully to describe one's own product is not a legal or moral wrong, even if its effect be to cause the public to mistake the origin or ownership of that product. Id.

3. A first made and marketed, a liquid preparation containing quinine and other drugs compounded with chocolate to give it color and flavor and to aid in suspending the quinine. B then, using chocolate, produced an article of the same taste and appearance, but sold cheaper, and, to reap A's trade, suggested to retail druggists the feasibility and economy of passing off the one for the other when dispensed out of the bottle, which was done in many and divers instances.


(a) That B was guilty of unfair competition. P. 265 U. S. 528.

(b) He who induces another to commit a fraud and furnishes the means is equally guilty. P. 265 U. S. 530.

(c) When several acts of unfair competition are shown, there is warrant for concluding that they will continue, and equity will afford adequate relief by injunction. P. 265 U. S. 531.

Page 265 U. S. 527

(d) The injunction in this case should forbid B and his agents from directly or indirectly representing or suggesting to his customers the feasibility or possibility of passing off B's product for A's, and may well require that his original packages sold to druggists shall bear labels not only distinguishing B's bottled product from A's, but also stating affirmatively that B's preparation is not to be sold or dispensed as A's, or be used in filling prescriptions or orders calling for the latter. P. 265 U. S. 531.

(e) But the use by B of chocolate as an ingredient of his preparation should not be forbidden. Id.

275 F. 752 reversed.

Certiorari to a decree of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of the district court dismissing on the merits a suit brought by the above-named respondent to enjoin the petitioner from continuing to manufacture a medicinal preparation called Quin-Coco if flavored with chocolate, and from continuing the use of that name.

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