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There is no important difference between a trade-name and a trade-mark with respect to the protection afforded by the courts to the exclusive right of the owner to use it to denominate his goods.
Coca-Cola Company brought an action against Dixi-Cola Laboratories, Inc. alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition based on fraudulent conduct. The district court sustained plaintiff's claim of infringement on the ground that the use of the word "cola" in Dixi-Cola’s trade-marks or trade-names led the public to believe that their products originated with Coca-Cola. Dixi-Cola appealed.
Was Coca-Cola entitled to relief in it action for trade-mark infringement and unfair competition based on the fraudulent conduct of defendant.
The court affirmed the decree of the district court, except insofar as it adjudicated an infringement by the use of the names Dixi Cola, Marbert Cola, and Marbert the Distinctive Cola, or prohibited the use of said names or of any name which included the word "cola," or from supplying the product on calls for "cola" or from committing any acts calculated to cause its product to be known as "cola." The court held that a designation which was initially a trade-mark or trade name ceased to be such when it came to be generally understood as a generic or descriptive designation for the type of goods, services, or business in connection with which it was used, and the word "cola" had become a generic term used in common by manufacturers as part of the trade-names for their products.