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decided: May 29, 1911.



Author: Hughes

[ 221 U.S. Page 586]

 MR. JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the court.

Pere Baglin, Superior General of the Order of Carthusian Monks, for himself and the other members of the Order, brought this bill in equity against the Cusenier Company, a New York corporation, to restrain the infringement of trade-marks and unfair competition.

The complainant had a decree in the Circuit Court, and this was modified in certain particulars, to which we shall presently refer, by the Circuit Court of Appeals. The complainant then appealed to this court and motion was made to dismiss the appeal, it being urged that the decree below was not final. Complainant then petitioned for a writ of certiorari, and this writ and a cross-writ asked for by the respondent were granted.

The facts, so far as we deem it necessary to state them, are as follows: For several hundred years prior to 1903 -- save for a comparatively brief period following the French Revolution -- the Order of Carthusian Monks occupied the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, near Voiron, in the Department of Isere, in France. This was their

[ 221 U.S. Page 587]

     Mother House. There, by a secret process, they made the liqueur or cordial which, at first sold locally, became upwards of fifty years ago the subject of an extensive trade and is known throughout the world as "Chartreuse." The Monks originally manufactured the liqueur at the Monastery itself and later at Fourvoirie, close by. It was marketed, here and abroad, in bottles of distinctive shape, to which were attached labels bearing the inscription, "Liqueur Fabriquee a la Gde. Chartreuse," with a facsimile of the signature of L. Garnier, a former Procureur of the Order, and its insignia, a globe, cross and seven stars; and these symbols with "Gde. Chartreuse" underneath were also ground into the glass. In 1876, the then Procureur registered two trade-marks in the Patent Office, and these were re-registered in 1884, under the act of 1881. In the accompanying statement the one was said to consist "of the word 'Chartreuse,' accompanied by a facsimile of the signature of L. Garnier," and the other "of the word-symbol 'Chartreuse;'" and the combinations in which these were used were described.

In the year 1903, having been refused authorization under the French law of July 1, 1901, known as the Associations Act, the congregation of the Chartreux was held to be dissolved by operation of law and possession was taken of their properties in France by a "sequestrating administrator and liquidator" appointed by the French court. Forcibly removed from their former establishment, and taking their secret with them, the Monks set up a factory at Tarragona, in Spain, and there according to their ancient process they have continued the manufacture of the liqueur, importing from France such herbs as were needed for the purpose.

The French liquidator, Henri Lecouturier, employing a skilled distiller and chemical assistants, undertook by experimentation to make at Fourvoirie a liqueur either identical with or resembling as closely as possible the

[ 221 U.S. Page 588]

     famous "Chartreuse;" and, having succeeded in this effort to his satisfaction, he placed his product upon the market under the old name. His agent in this country under date of October 25, 1904, issued a circular containing the following announcement:

"I take pleasure in informing you that I have been appointed Sole Agent for the United States and Canada for the Grande Chartreuse Liqueur. Within a few days I shall receive a shipment and therefore will be able to execute orders. As there is a very extensive demand for this cordial, I shall not be able to fill large orders in full, but I trust that, within a few weeks, I will have sufficient stock on hand to enable me to satisfy the demand through the Cusenier Company, whom I have appointed my distributing agents.

"Nothing has been changed in the putting up of the products of the Grande Chartreuse, which bear the same labels as heretofore, the only guarantee of authenticity and of origin of the Chartreuse made at the Monastery."

The liquidator's cordial was shipped to this country, and sold here, in bottles of precisely the same description and with the same marks and symbols which had been used by the Monks; if there was any difference it is frankly stated to have been unintentional.

Meanwhile the Monks, debarred by the proceedings in France from the use of their old marks and symbols in that country, devised a new designation for their liqueur, in which prominence was given to the words "Peres Chartreux." The new label bore the inscription "Liqueur Fabriquee a Tarragone par les Peres Chartreux;" and this was accompanied by the statement that "this liqueur is the only one identically the same as that made at the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse in France, previous to the expulsion of the Monks, who have kept intact the secret of its manufacture." To negative the claim of abandonment they made a small shipment to this country

[ 221 U.S. Page 589]

     under the old labels. And, both here and in other countries, the Monks have sought by legal proceedings to prevent the use of the word "Chartreuse" as a designation of the liqueur made at Fourvoirie since their expulsion, and the use or imitation by the liquidator or by those claiming under him of the marks which the Monks had associated with their product and the simulating in any way of the dress or packages in which it had been sold.

For this purpose, this suit was brought against the defendant, who was then representing the liquidator in this country. Pending it, the liquidator sold the property he had acquired and the business he had been conducting in that capacity to a company known as the "Compagnie Fermiere de la Grande Chartreuse," which has continued the manufacture of liqueur at Fourvoirie and also its sale in this country through the defendant as its representative.

On final hearing the Circuit Court adjudged "that the word-symbol 'Chartreuse,' as applied to liqueur or cordial," and that "the said word-symbol 'Chartreuse' accompanied by the facsimile signature of L. Garnier," as set forth in the certificates of registry in the Patent Office, "constitute good and valid trade-marks, and in this country have been and now are the sole and exclusive property of said complainants, the Carthusian Monks or Fathers (Peres Chartreux); and that in this country the said complainants still have the right, and the exclusive right, to use the said marks, or any of them, upon liqueurs or cordials manufactured by the complainants." It was further adjudged that the defendant had been guilty of infringement of these trade-marks and of unfair competition, and the decree also contained a perpetual injunction.

The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decree with modifications which affect only the paragraph containing the injunction. This paragraph as amended reads as

[ 221 U.S. Page 590]

     follows (the words inserted by the Court of Appeals being italicized):

"It is further adjudged, ordered and decreed that defendant, its associates, successors, assigns, officers, servants, clerks, agents, and workmen, and each of them be, and they hereby are perpetually enjoined from using in this country or in any possession thereof, in connection with any liqueur or cordial not manufactured by complainants, the trade-mark 'Chartreuse,' or of any colorable imitation thereof unless so used as clearly to distinguish such liqueur or cordial from the liqueur or cordial manufactured by the complainants -- or the fac-simile signature of L. Garnier, or any colorable imitation thereof -- or any of the trade-marks above referred to, or any colorable imitation thereof; and they and each of them are likewise perpetually enjoined from importing or putting out or selling or offering for sale, directly or indirectly, within this country, any liqueur or cordial not manufactured by complainants, in any dress or package like or simulating in any material respects the dress or package heretofore used by complainants -- and in particular from making use of any [bottle or] label or [package] symbol like or substantially similar to those appearing on 'Complainants' Exhibit, Defendant's Liqueur,' being the bottle now on file as an exhibit in this Court -- and from in anywise attempting to make use of the good-will and reputation of complainants in putting out in this country any liqueur or cordial not made by complainants."

The defendant contends that the Circuit Court was without jurisdiction. This objection must fail, as it sufficiently appears from the record that the controversy was between foreign subjects and a New York corporation. And there was also an assertion by the bill of a right under the Federal statute, by virtue of the registration of the trade-mark. ...

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