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Dairy Queen, Inc. v. Wood

United States Supreme Court
369 U.S. 469 (1962)


Facts

Dairy Queen, Inc. (DQ) (defendant) signed a licensing contract with McCullough (plaintiff), owner of the trademark "DAIRY QUEEN", whereby DQ agreed to pay McCullough $150,000 for the exclusive right to use the trademark in certain portions of Pennsylvania. McCullough sent a notice of termination letter to DQ cancelling its right to use the trademark when it defaulted on its payments. DQ however continued to use the trademark after the notice. McCullough then brought suit for breach of contract, seeking among other things “an accounting to determine the exact amount of money owing by [DQ] and a judgment for that amount.” McCullough demanded a trial by jury and DQ filed a motion to strike that demand. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted DQ’s motion on the grounds that the action was “purely equitable” because the complaint framed the action in terms of “accounting” rather than for debt or damages. McCullough appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Harlan, J.)

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