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February 7, 1903


JAMA. 1903;XL(6):385. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490060039009

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The United States Supreme Court has recently given out a decision which has some bearings on medicine. The case at hand is that of a California medicine company against another patent medicine company for infringement on its trademark. It went through the various courts and finally reached the United States Supreme Court and was fully argued. In the opinion of Justice Shiras it was held that if any symbol or label claimed as a trademark is so constructed as to contain any distinct false assertion its exclusive rights can not be maintained. If the plaintiff makes any material false statement, says the court, in connection with the property which he seeks to protect, he loses his right to claim the assistance of a court of equity. Any advertising trademarks, therefore, for quack medicines with extravagant assertions or claims are hereafter useless.

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