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Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co.

United States Supreme Court
514 U.S. 159 (1995)


Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co.

Facts

Qualitex (plaintiff), a company in the dry cleaning business, used a distinct green-gold color on the dry cleaning press pads it sold to dry cleaners. Jacobson Products (Jacobson) (defendant), a rival company, began selling pads of a similar color. Qualitex then registered its green-gold color with the Patent and Trademark Office and brought this trademark-infringement suit against Jacobson challenging its use of the green-gold color. The trial court entered judgment for Qualitex. The appellate court set aside the judgment on Qualitex's trademark-infringement claim, holding that color alone cannot be registered as a trademark. The Supreme Court granted Qualitex’s petition for certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

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Questions & Answers


Didn't lower court find for Qualitex?

It seems the District Court found for Qualitex and the Ninth Circuit set aside the judgment stating "Qualitex won the lawsuit in the District Court. 1991 WL 318798 (CD Cal.1991). But, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit set aside the judgment in Qualitex’s favor on the trademark infringement claim because, in that Circuit’s view, the Lanham Act does not permit Qualitex, or anyone else, to register “color alone” as a trademark. 13 F.3d 1297, 1300, 1302 (1994)." (Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook Version 7 (2020) by Barton Beebe"

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