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Fashion Originators’ Guild of America v. Federal Trade Commission

United States Supreme Court
312 U.S. 457 (1941)


Facts

The Fashion Originators’ Guild of America (FOGA) (defendant) was composed of various prominent members of the dressmaking industry, including manufacturers that accounted for between 38 percent and 60 percent of relevant market segments. A principal purpose of FOGA was to suppress competition from manufacturers that were copying original designs by FOGA members and selling knockoff garments for cheaper prices. Although FOGA considered this so-called style piracy to be unethical and potentially tortious under state law, this was not illegal under federal intellectual-property laws. In order to eliminate competition from knockoffs, FOGA threatened to boycott any retailer that sold competitive knockoff garments. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (plaintiff) issued a cease-and-desist order to FOGA, demanding cessation of the group boycott. FOGA appealed the FTC’s order to the court of appeals, which affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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