Ogden (plaintiff) received a license under New York state law that purported to give him the exclusive right to operate steamboats in New York waters. Gibbons (defendant) sought and obtained a similar license from the federal government, which Gibbons used to compete with Ogden in the same water route that Ogden was using. To protect his monopoly license, Ogden filed suit in the New York Court of Chancery to enjoin Gibbons from operating his boats in New York waters. Gibbons argued that he was operating his boats pursuant to an order of Congress, and that Congress has exclusive power under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. The New York Court of Chancery found in favor of Ogden and issued an injunction to restrict Gibbons from operating his boats. Gibbons appealed the case to the Court of Errors of New York, which affirmed the decision. Gibbons appealed to the United States Supreme Court.