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Boston Professional Hockey Association, Inc. v. Dallas Cap & Emblem Manufacturing, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
510 F.2d 1004 (1975)


Facts

Boston Professional Hockey Association, Inc. (Boston) (plaintiff) had registered its team symbol for trademark protection for use in connection with ice-hockey entertainment services. Dallas Cap & Emblem Manufacturing, Inc. (Dallas) (defendant) manufactured and sold Boston’s team symbol without Boston’s authorization. Boston sued Dallas under the Lanham Act and common-law unfair competition. The district court found that Dallas had violated unfair-competition laws and required Dallas to identify the emblems sold in its stores as unauthorized. The focus of this case was on the symbol and not on the goods that Boston sold because only the symbols were being manufactured and sold by Dallas. Trademark law focuses on the use of a mark to sell products; whereas the symbol or design alone would fall under the purview of copyright law. Therefore, the district court did not grant relief under the Lanham Act because the court feared that this would grant Boston a copyright monopoly over the symbol in perpetuity. This would violate the principles of copyright law because copyrights are meant to be granted for a limited time before the protected designs go into the public domain. Boston appealed this decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Roney, J.)

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