Monday, November 25, 2013

Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co. case brief

Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co. case brief summary
514 U.S. 159 (1995)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner sought review of a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which set aside a district court's judgment that respondent infringed on petitioner's trademark, in violation of 15 U.S.C.S. § 1114(1), premised on a holding that a trademark could not be obtained for a color alone.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner sought review of a judgment that set aside a judgment that respondent infringed on petitioner's trademark, in violation of 15 U.S.C.S. § 1114(1), premised on a holding that a trademark could not be obtained for a color alone.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that a color, to the extent it met the ordinary requirements to register a trademark, was registerable. 
  • The court also held a color could satisfy the part of the statutory definition of a trademark, which required a person to "use" or "intend to use" the mark to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source was unknown, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1127. 
  • The court held, however, that to the extent that a color was functional, the mark would have to be examined to determine if its use as a mark would permit one competitor to interfere with legitimate competition. 
  • Accordingly, the judgment that held petitioner could not register a color as a trademark was reversed.

CONCLUSION
The judgment setting aside a determination that respondent had infringed petitioner's trademark was reversed because petitioner was able to register a color as a trademark to the extent that it met the ordinary requirements to obtain a trademark.

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