1 F. 24 (D.Md. 1880), Sawyer v. Horn

Citation:1 F. 24
Party Name:SAWYER v. HORN.
Case Date:January 17, 1880
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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1 F. 24 (D.Md. 1880)




United States Circuit Court, D. Maryland.

January 17, 1880

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The bill alleges that the complainant, Henry Sawyer, of the city of Boston, in the state of Massachusetts, has been for about 20 years engaged in the manufacture of bluing; that his bluing has an extended and desirable reputation in the markets of the United States, and especially in Baltimore, where it has been and now is regarded as an article of great excellence, and has been sold in Baltimore and elsewhere in large quantities.

That in order to identify the bluing made by him and distinguish it from all others, complainant devised and adopted, as a trade-mark, certain marks, symbols and devices, and a form of package, none of which had been before at any time applied or used in connection with bluing, and which have continually, ever since, been used by him to identify his bluing.

That the marks so adopted were:

1. A red disk, applied on the top of the box, which had been first used by him in 1863, and had been registered by him, according to the statutes of the United States, as a trade-mark.

2. Certain pictorial representations of his boxes, which he used as part of the labels, applied to the outsides of the packing boxes, in which the small boxes containing the blue were packed for market.

3. An allocation or combination, consisting of words printed in bronze letters on blue paper, constituting the label surrounding the small boxes containing the blue.

And also a new and original and peculiar form of package or box to contain the blue, consisting of a cylinder, having a top of metal, perforated with holes, sealed with red sealing-wax.

Also a packing box with certain distinctive labels before mentioned, in which the cylindrical boxes were so packed and arranged that upon being opened nothing was exposed to sight but the red tops.

And the bill charges that the respondent Horn is engaged in Baltimore in the business of manufacturing blue, and, knowing the high reputation of complainant's goods as identified

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by his said marks and labels and peculiar appearance, has for his own profit, and to the injury of the complainant, been selling bluing put up in boxes made in imitation of complainant's, and had attached to the boxes palpable imitations of complainant's trade-marks.

And that said respondent, Horn, had wilfully and fraudulently put up his bluing in packages substantially the same in every material respect and having substantially the same general appearance as those of complainant, and had packed the same in the precise form and manner originated and used by the complainant, and had sold the same as and for the bluing of the complainant.

The bill further alleges that the respondent's imitation of the complainant's peculiar form of package, labels and manner of packing created confusion in the market, and misled and deceived purchasers who were familiar with and desired to obtain complainant's goods, and that respondent's goods were inferior and sold at a less price than complainant's.

The bill prays for an injunction and account.

These are in substance the more important allegations of the bill.

The respondent's answer admits that the complainant is a manufacturer of bluing as alleged, but denies that prior to 1878 the complainant ever claimed any of the alleged symbols, marks, or form of package as his trade-mark, or that he has ever attached to his bluing anything in the nature of a trade-mark, except the fac simile of his signature, the dates of the patent and reissue obtained by him, and the word 'Crystal;' and respondent alleges that the red top of the boxes, the blue color of the label, the lettering, type, phraseology, green box, and other matters claimed by complainant in his bill, are such as belong to commerce and the public in general, and are not susceptible of exclusive appropriation by any one.

Respondent further alleges that complainant had, in the year 1864, obtained a patent for the said box containing his bluing, in which it was described as a package, or case, which, when made with distributing holes and filled, is cemented by wax or a wafer, which patent was afterwards held to be void.

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That the red top was produced by the application of Venetian red, for the purpose of stopping the perforations in the top of the package until required to be opened for use, and that the claim of the red top as a trade-mark was an afterthought of the complainant, suggested as a means of continuing his monopoly after his patent was annulled. That it was not a proper subject of registration as a trade-mark, had never been used or applied as described in the certificate of registration, and was but the ordinary use of a cheap and well known red material as a cement to close the perforations of the box, and when so applied became part of the box itself, and not in any sense a trade-mark.

Respondent further claims that the pictures used by him on the lids of his larger packing boxes were simply pictures free to be used by any one, and alleges that the form of package, labels and other marks claimed by complainant are not original or peculiar, but had been long used by many persons in the same trade.

The respondent admits that he does put up and sell a bluing in boxes having a resemblance in form to those sold by the complainant, but denies that he has done so fraudulently, or that he has ever done so in imitation of the complainant's bluing, or ever done anything not warranted by a fair competition in business, and denies that he has ever offered to sell any of his goods as and for the goods of the complainant, or sold any goods bearing any marks belonging exclusively to complainant, or any false representations thereon calculated to create confusion, and cause his goods to be purchased as and for the goods of the complainant.

He admits that he sells his goods cheaper than the complainant, but alleges that he gives as good an article for less money.

The case now comes on for final hearing, and we have been greatly assisted by the careful and thorough manner in which the facts have been presented, and by the able arguments of counsel, and the very numerous exhibits which have been brought to our attention illustrating and explaining the facts

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in this controversy, and also many of the subjects of controversy passed upon in the cases cited in argument.

It appears that the complainant Sawyer in 1863 began using the present form of box as a convenient method of putting up washing blue in a dry powder, and that he began to distinguish them by using a red colored top in 1866.

He used a box, which is a small cylinder of wood, about an inch in diameter, and about two...

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