Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chesterton and Trademark Law

This is a very cool little Tremendous Trifle sent to me by alert reader Ryan (H/T):
I was reading my casebook for a class on Trademarks and Unfair Competition this morning when I stumbled across the following quotation:

"...where a color serves a significant non-trademark function -- whether to distinguish a heart pill from a digestive medication or to satisfy the "noble instinct for giving the right touch of beauty to common and necessary things," G. Chesterton, SIMPLICITY AND TOLSTOY 61 (1912) - Courts will examine whether its use as a mark..."

The case was Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co., Inc., 514 U.S. 159 (1995), and it was authored by none other than Justice Breyer, a Jewish man, who wrote the opinion Stenberg v. Carhart rejecting Nebraska's attempt to categorically ban partial birth abortions as unconstitutional. Needless to say, he didn't quote Chesterton in that opinion.

Just thought it was interesting and figured you might, too. Ryan

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