G. & C. Merriam Co. v. Ogilvie

159 Fed. 638 (1908)

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G. & C. Merriam Co. v. Ogilvie

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
159 Fed. 638 (1908)

SH

Facts

G. & C. Merriam Co. (plaintiff) had been the sole publisher of, and its name had been associated with, dictionaries under the title “Webster’s.” The Webster’s series of dictionaries became public domain in 1889. Ogilvie (defendant) thereafter proceeded to release a reprint edition of one of these dictionaries also under the title “Webster’s.” On the back cover was printed “George W. Ogilvie,” and on the title page, “George W. Ogilvie, Publisher.” Ogilvie’s circulars and advertisements for the reprint edition contained materials appropriated from Merriam’s promotional literature and generally conveyed the impression that the reprint edition was a new edition published by Merriam and that it was the successor to Merriam’s series of dictionaries. Ogilvie sought to restrain Merriam from sending letters to the trade stating that it had the exclusive right to use the name “Webster’s” on dictionaries. Merriam, on the other hand, sought to stop Ogilvie from using “Webster’s” on his reprint edition and from sending out misleading literature.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Aldrich, J.)

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