Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Stiffel Co.

United States Supreme Court
376 U.S. 225 (1964)


Stiffel Company (Stiffel) (plaintiff) designed and manufactured a pole lamp, which was a type of floor lamp with external lighting fixtures. Stiffel was issued mechanical and design patents for the pole lamp, which became a commercially successful product for Stiffel. Sears, Roebuck & Company (Sears) started selling a nearly identical version of the lamp at a lower cost, and Stiffel brought a suit against Sears for patent infringement. The district court found the pole-lamp patents invalid for lack of novelty, but nevertheless found Sears guilty of unfair competition and enjoined Sears from selling substantially similar lamps. The court of appeals affirmed the decision, finding that the design of the lamps was identical and likely to cause customer confusion. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether Illinois’s unfair-competition law conflicted with federal patent law.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 496,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 496,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial