Yale University v. Benneson

Decision Date15 March 1960
Citation147 Conn. 254,159 A.2d 169
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
Parties, 125 U.S.P.Q. 252 YALE UNIVERSITY v. Edward B. BENNESON et al. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Frederick H. Wiggin and Robert F. Cavanagh, New Haven, for appellant (plaintiff).

William L. Hadden, New Haven, with whom was William L. Hadden, Jr., New Haven, for appellees (defendants).


MURPHY, Associate Justice.

The plaintiff has appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court denying it an injunction to restrain the defendants from using the name 'Yale' in the operation of the Yale Motor Inn near the Wilbur Cross parkway in the Yalesville section of the town of Wallingford. The plaintiff assigns error in one finding of fact, seven of the twelve conclusions of law, the overruling of its twenty claims of law, and the rendering of judgment for the defendants. In its brief, the plaintiff makes specific reference only to three of the asignments of error, relating to the conclusions reached. The others are treated as abandoned. State v. Ferraiuolo, 145 Conn. 458, 459, 144 A.2d 41. As a result, none of the subordinate facts are attacked. The conclusions which the court has reached are to be tested by the facts as found and must stand unless they are legally or logically inconsistent with those facts or unless they involve the application of some erroneous rule of law material to the case. Monick v. Town of Greenwich, 144 Conn. 608, 611, 136 A.2d 501.

The leading case in this state on unfair competition in the use of names is Middletown Trust Co. v. Middletown National Bank, 110 Conn. 13, 147 A. 22. In it (110 Conn. at page 20, 147 A. at page 25), we held that whether or not the defendants' conduct constituted unfair competition was a question of fact for the trier. We said: 'No inflexible rule can be laid down as to what use of names will constitute unfair competition; this is a question of fact. The question to be determined is whether or not, as a matter of fact, the name is such as to cause confusion in the public mind as between the plaintiff's business and that of the defendant, resulting in injury to the plaintiff. The test is whether the public is likely to be deceived. * * * 'Whether the court will interfere in a particular case must depend upon circumstances; the identity or similarity of the names; the identity of the business of the respective corporations; * * * the extent of the confusion which may be created or apprehended, and other circumstances which might justly influence the judgment of the judge in granting or withholding the remedy.' Chas. S. Higgins Co. v. Higgins Soap Co., 144 N.Y. 462, 469, 39 N.E. 490, 492, 27 L.R.A. 42. * * * If the court finds that the effect of appropriation by one corporation of a distinctive portion of the name of another is to cause confusion and uncertainty in the latter's business, injure [it] pecuniarily and otherwise, and deceive and mislead the public, relief will be afforded. * * * It is not sufficient that some person may possibly be misled, but the similarity must be such that any person, with...

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32 cases
  • Yale Literary Magazine v. Yale University
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • July 30, 1985
    ...the notion that the plaintiff is proceeding pursuant to a common law cause of action for unfair competition. See Yale University v. Benneson, 147 Conn. 254, 159 A.2d 169 (1960). Yale University's action sounds in contract and the special defenses interposed thereto concern contracts. Cases ......
  • Plasticrete Corp. v. American Policyholders Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • May 19, 1981
    ...v. Ives, 162 Conn. 171, 177, 293 A.2d 1 (1972); Craig v. Dunleavy, 154 Conn. 100, 105, 221 A.2d 855 (1966); Yale University v. Benneson, 147 Conn. 254, 255, 159 A.2d 169 (1960). The trial court made a finding that, "(t)he water seepage through the Plasticrete block into the interior of the ......
  • General Controls Co. v. Hi-G, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
    • December 29, 1962
    ...v. Winslow-Warren Ltd., Inc., 137 F.2d 955 (2 Cir., 1943) cert. denied 320 U.S. 758, 64 S.Ct. 65, 88 L.Ed. 452; Yale University v. Benneson, 147 Conn. 254, 159 A.2d 169 (1960). This memorandum of decision will constitute the court's finding of facts and conclusions of law in accordance with......
  • Brockett v. Jensen
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • December 13, 1966
    ...consistent with the facts found and do not involve the application of any erroneous rule of law material to the case. Yale v. Benneson, 147 Conn. 254, 255, 159 A.2d 169. The defendants also assign error in the conclusions reached by the court that Mrs. Jensen was the owner of the 1952 Chevr......
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