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Lever Brothers Company v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
877 F.2d 101 (1989)


Facts

Lever Brothers Company (Lever) (plaintiff) manufactured a deodorant with a Shield trademark and a liquid dishwashing soap with a Sunlight trademark. Lever manufactured these products in the United States and in the United Kingdom, through an affiliated corporation. There were small differences in the ingredients and the packaging of the products in the United States versus the products in the United Kingdom. Lever submitted evidence from its consumers that the difference between the two types of products became evident only once used. Lever argued that this indicated consumer confusion and belief that the United Kingdom products were products of a lower quality. A third party had imported the Lever products from the United Kingdom into the United States. The Customs Service of the United States (Customs Service) (defendant) refused to stop the importation of these products. The Customs Service argued that because the United Kingdom products were from an affiliate of Lever, these products did not qualify as copies or simulated goods. The district court agreed and denied Lever’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Lever appealed this decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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