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Goodyear's India Rubber Glove Mfg. Co. v. Goodyear Rubber Co.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued October 30, 31, 1888. ; December 10, 1888 Decided

No. 49.

Opinion

 [*599]   [**166]   [***535]  MR. JUSTICE FIELD delivered the opinion of the court.

This was a suit in equity, brought by the Goodyear Rubber Company, a corporation created under the laws of New York, to restrain Goodyear's India Rubber Glove Manufacturing Company, a corporation created under the laws of Connecticut, and others, defendants  [***536]  below, from using the name of "Goodyear's Rubber Manufacturing Company," or any equivalent name in their business.  [****3]  The bill alleges that the plaintiff was organized as a corporation on the 20th of November, 1872, for the purpose of manufacturing and dealing in india rubber and gutta percha goods, under its corporate name, in the city of New York; that it engaged in business in that city, where it has three large warehouses, with branch houses in other cities; that since its organization it has continually used its corporate name on signs at its various places of business and factories; on its bill and letter heads; on its various articles of manufacture; and on its corporate seal in contracts and other business transactions; that by reason thereof it has become possessed of an exclusive right and title to its corporate name, which, from its inseparable connection with the business and good-will of the company, has become of great value; and that its exclusive use is essential to the prosperity of the plaintiff.

The bill then sets forth that at the time of its organization there existed a corporation carrying on business in the city of New York under the name Goodyear's India Rubber Glove Manufacturing Company, and dealing in various articles of which india rubber formed a component part, its [****4]  business being similar to that of the plaintiff; that prior to the organization of the plaintiff in November, 1872, that company conducted its business under its corporate name, using it on its business signs, on its letter and bill heads, on its seal, and in all contracts and business transactions; that after the creation and organization of the plaintiff that company began to call  [*600]  itself Goodyear's Rubber Manufacturing Company, and, for the purpose of diverting to itself the business and good-will of the plaintiff, resorted to various devices and contrivances having for their object the imitation and appropriation to its use of the plaintiff's name; that among these devices was the representation of the words "India" and "Glove," sometimes in small letters and sometimes by initials, thereby constituting a name for practical purposes almost identical with the name of the plaintiff, producing much loss and inconvenience to plaintiff's business by causing a diversion of letters and telegrams addressed to it; that for the like purpose of taking from the plaintiff its customers and trade, and appropriating its good-will, that company, on or about the first of January, 1882,  [****5]  adopted for its principal sign the name "Goodyear's Rubber Mfg. Co." over the entrance to and in front of its warehouses; and that these devices deceive the public and divert business and customers from the plaintiff, by which it sustains, and, without the interference of this court, will in the future sustain, great loss and damage.

The bill also alleges that the defendants Allerton and Vermule, with other persons unknown to the plaintiff, pretend to be a corporation under the name of Goodyear's Rubber Manufacturing Company, and that they are the principal owners and managers of the business carried on under the name of Goodyear's India Rubber Glove Manufacturing Company, and of Goodyear's Rubber Manufacturing Company, and as such direct and control whatever is done under the names of both.

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128 U.S. 598 *; 9 S. Ct. 166 **; 32 L. Ed. 535 ***; 1888 U.S. LEXIS 2258 ****

GOODYEAR'S INDIA RUBBER GLOVE MANUFACTURING COMPANY v. GOODYEAR RUBBER COMPANY.

Prior History:  [****1]  APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

IN EQUITY to restrain the use of a company name in business. The case is stated in the opinion.

CORE TERMS

Manufacturing, Rubber, India, appropriation, abbreviated, trade-mark, corporate name, designation, articles

Business & Corporate Compliance, Types of Commercial Transactions, Sales of Goods, General Overview, Business & Corporate Law, General Partnerships, Formation, Trademark Law, Similarity of Marks, Appearance, Meaning & Sound, Criminal Law & Procedure, Criminal Offenses, Alcohol Related Offenses, Distribution & Sale, Terms Requiring Secondary Meaning, Descriptive & Laudatory Terms, Particular Subject Matter, Names, Causes of Action Involving Trademarks, Infringement Actions, Determinations