Monday, November 11, 2013

Ely-Norris Safe Co. v. Mosler Safe Co. case brief

Ely-Norris Safe Co. v. Mosler Safe Co. case brief summary
7 F.2d 603 (2d Cir. 1925)

Plaintiff appealed a judgment from the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York denying its claim for damages in an action arising from defendant's misrepresentation of plaintiff's goods as its own.


Plaintiff was the exclusive maker of safes that sued defendant competitor after it represented to safe customers that it could and did in fact sell plaintiff's safes when they did not have the right to do so. Plaintiff's claim was denied on grounds that the law did not recognize a competitor's right to sue absent proven damages.


  • The court recognized that defendant's misrepresentation of goods was actionable as between buyer and seller, but found that a private suit between competitors would lie only if plaintiff could prove damages. 
  • The court posited that if plaintiff had a monopoly on the safes and their design, that defendant could only sell to customers who asked for the exclusive kind of safe by infringing on plaintiff's rights as exclusive maker. 
  • If a plaintiff could allege and prove those facts, the court found that plaintiff could prove lost sales by proving sales to defendant. 
  • In essence, the court recognized that a private suit would lie under the right set of factual circumstances for product misrepresentation and infringement as between competitors, not just between buyer and seller.

The judgment was reversed after the court found that a private action brought by one competitor against another for product misrepresentation or infringement could lie if the plaintiff could allege and prove damages by virtue of lost sales.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...