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
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
"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
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
"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. Warner v. Searle & Hereth Company, 191 U.S. 195; Standard Paint Company v. Trinidad Asphalt
On the merits, the questions presented are (1) What rights, with respect to the designations and marks involved, were enjoyed by the Carthusian Monks prior to their expulsion from the French Monastery; (2) What effect upon their rights had (a) the liquidation proceedings in France, and (b) the conduct of the Monks in relation to the trade in the liqueur which they subsequently made in Spain; and, in the light of the conclusions upon these points, (3) To what remedy, if any, are the Monks entitled?
It is insisted that the judgment is erroneous in determining that "the word-symbol Chartreuse" constituted a valid trade-mark. It is argued that "Chartreuse" is a regional name; that the characteristic qualities of the liqueur were due to certain local advantages by reason of the herbs found and cultivated within the district described; that even as used in connection with the Monks' liqueur it was still a description of place; and hence, that at most, so far as this word is concerned, the question could be one only of unfair competition.
The validity of this argument cannot be admitted upon the facts which we deem to be established and controlling. It is undoubtedly true that names which are merely geographical cannot be the subject of exclusive appropriation as trade-marks. "Their nature is such that they cannot point to the origin (personal origin) or ownership of the articles of trade to which they may be applied. They point only at the place of production, not to the producer, and could they be appropriated exclusively, the appropriation would result in mischievous monopolies." Canal Company v. Clark, 13 Wall. p. 324. See also Columbia Mill Company v. Alcorn, 150 U.S. 460; Elgin National Watch Company v. Illinois Watch Company, 179 U.S. 665.
This familiar principle, however, is not applicable here. It is not necessary for us to determine the origin of the
It cannot be supposed that if, during the occupation by the Monks of the Monastery of La Grande Chartreuse, another had established a factory at Fourvoirie and there manufactured a liqueur, he could have affixed to it the name "Chartreuse" or "Grande Chartreuse" or "Gde. Chartreuse" on the ground that these were place names or descriptive of advantages pertaining to the locality. It could not fail to be recognized at once that these were the distinctive designations of the liqueur made by the Monks and not geographical descriptions available to any one who might make cordial in a given section of country. The same would have been true if the Monks had voluntarily removed and continued their manufacture elsewhere. As was forcibly said by the Lord Chief Justice in the Court of Appeal in Rey v. Lecouturier,  2 Ch. 715, p. 726: "To test this question, let us suppose that the monks had moved their manufacture to another monastery or another building in France and had sold the fabric of the distillery and left the district of La Grande Chartreuse, but had continued to make the liqueur in the same way; could it be contended that any one who bought as old bricks and mortar the distillery at Fourvoirie could immediately call any liqueur made there by the name of
The claim of the Monks to an exclusive right in this designation as applied to the liqueur has been frequently the subject of litigation and has repeatedly been sustained. In 1872, La Cour de Cassation in Le Pere Louis Garnier v. Paul Garnier, 17 Annales, p. 259, held that "the word Chartreuse, applied as a denomination to the liqueur made by the religious community of which Pere Garnier is the representative, is but an abbreviation and the equivalent of a designation more complete; for it at once indicates the name of the fabricants (the Chartreux); the name or commercial firm of manufacture, which is no other than the community of these same Chartreux, and finally the place of manufacture, that is to say the monastery of La Grande Chartreuse." It was concluded that the designation was the exclusive property of the Monks. Mr. Browne, after quoting the above passage, adds: "That single word" (Chartreuse) "contains a long history of strife. It has repeatedly been held to be a perfect trade-mark, for the reasons just cited." Browne on Trade-marks, § 582; §§ 407-410. See also 17 Annales, 241, 249; Rey v. Lecouturier, supra, p. 726; Grezier v. Girard, and others, United States Circuit Court, Southern District of New York, 1876, not reported; A. Bauer v. Order of Carthusian Monks, 120 Fed. Rep. 78.
We find no error, therefore, in this determination of the judgment. The registered trade-marks were valid. In the statements for registration, the symbols actually used in combination were set forth. Take, for example, the mark in the glass of the bottle, consisting of "Gde. Chartreuse" under the globe, cross and seven stars. This undoubtedly is a valid mark. And the same is true of the other marks, shown on the labels attached to the bottles, which included the ecclesiastical symbols and the facsimile of the signature of L. Garnier. It follows that up to the time
The next inquiry is with respect to the effect of the liquidation proceedings in France. Upon the application of the Procureur of the Republic, the French court proceeded to the judicial liquidation of the properties in France held by the non-authorized congregation of the Chartreux, and it was of these properties that a liquidator was appointed. It does not appear that the court assumed jurisdiction of the trade-marks registered on behalf of the Monks in other countries. On the contrary, it appears to have been held that the question of the ownership of such trade-marks was not involved in its determination. After a successful contest of the liquidator with the Abbe Rey, in which a judgment was pronounced to the effect that the latter was an interposed person or passive trustee under a deed of transfer found to be simulated, and that the properties claimed by him personally were in fact those of the congregation and subject to the liquidation, the liquidator sought by way of interpretation of this judgment to obtain a declaration that the assets of the liquidation comprised the trade-marks registered in other countries. On refusing the application (March 27, 1906), the Court of Appeals of Grenoble used the following language, — showing that the question had not been determined in the previous decision, and also directing attention to the character of the law under which the liquidation was had as "a law of exception and police:"
"The claim of the receiver to the property of the trade-marks registered in the foreign countries, raises the question whether the law of July first, nineteen hundred and one, which is a law of exception and police, controls or not, beyond the territory of the Republic, the properties of the dissolved Congregations, and whether the trade marks
"The question has not been debated between the parties, and the court would not have failed, if it had been submitted to it, to treat upon it in the counts of its decision, in order to solve it in its disposition;
"The silence in this respect, exclusive of any debate on this point, does not allow of admitting, as being implicitly contained in the decree, in an ambiguous or equivocal form, the decision of which Lecouturier claims the benefit, and as the interpretation which he solicits from the court would have as effect to extend beyond what was its sole object, the matter judged by the decree of July nineteenth last;
"Such an application must be rejected as not receivable, and it is left to Lecouturier to have recourse to such means as may be deemed proper."
Hence defendant's contention is not that the French judgments, under which its principal claims, "expressly and directly settled the status of the marks abroad, but that the said judgments were effective to vest in the defendant [liquidator] the business and good will inseparably connected both in France and in this country with the place and mode of fabrication and, therefore, gave him the right, in virtue of the principles of our law, to use the trade-mark connected therewith."
Now what was the case with respect to the business to which the trade-marks in this country related? That business consisted of the manufacture by the Monks, according to their secret process of a liqueur of which the marks and symbols were the trade designation. They took their secret with them to Spain and continued the manufacture of the liqueur. The Monks' secret was not the subject of seizure by the liquidator and did not pass to him. It is not
The matter was put thus by Lord Macnaghten in the House of Lords, in Lecouturier v. Rey,  A.C. 262, p. 265:
"To me it seems perfectly plain that it must be beyond the power of any foreign Court or any foreign legislature to prevent the monks from availing themselves in England of the benefit of the reputation which the liqueurs of their manufacture have acquired here or to extend or communicate the benefit of that reputation to any rival or competitor in the English market. But it is certainly satisfactory to learn from the evidence of experts in French law that the law of Associations is a penal law — a law of police and order — and is not considered to have any extra-territorial effect. It is also satisfactory to find that these legal experts confirm the conclusion which any lawyer would draw from a perusal of the French judgments in evidence in this case, that the sale by the liquidator of the property bought by the appellant company has not carried with it the English trade-marks, or established the claim of the appellant company to represent their manufacture as the manufacture of the monks of La Grande Chartreuse, which most certainly it is not."
"Of course in this country a trade-mark can only be enjoyed in connection with a business, but I think that the monks are carrying on a business in connection with which they can enjoy any trade-marks to which they may be entitled, and the labels which were put upon the register, and in respect of which the defendant Lecouturier has had his own name placed upon the register. Are those trade-marks the property of the plaintiffs? In my opinion they clearly are."
If through his experiments the liquidator had not succeeded in making a liqueur which resembled that of the Monks, he would have had no business to transact so far as the liqueur was concerned and the transfer by operation of law would not have availed to give him one. But the property in the trade-marks in this country did not depend upon the success of the endeavors of the liquidator's experts. The Monks were enabled to continue their business because they still had the process, and continuing it they enjoyed all the rights pertaining to it, save to the extent to which, by force of the local law, they were deprived of that enjoyment in France.
Failing to establish that the Monks were divested of their exclusive rights in this country by the legal proceedings in France, it is insisted that these have been lost by abandonment. This defence is based both upon non-user of the old marks and labels and upon the efforts made by the Monks, since their expulsion from France, to associate their liqueur with a new designation — as the "Liqueur des Peres Chartreux" or "Liqueur Febriquee a Tarragone par les Peres Chartreux."
But the loss of the right of property in trade-marks upon the ground of abandonment is not to be viewed as a penalty either for non-user or for the creation and use of new devices. There must be found an intent to abandon, or the
"Abandonment in industrial property is an act by which the public domain originally enters or reenters into the possession of the thing, (commercial name, mark or sign,) by the will of the legitimate owner. The essential condition to constitute abandonment is, that the one having a right should consent to the dispossession. Outside of this there can be no dedication of the right, because there cannot be abandonment in the juridical sense of the word."
What basis is there in this case for a finding of intent to abandon the old marks? It is to be remembered that they were of a personal character, involving the adaptation of the name and the use of the ecclesiastical symbols of the Order. It is pointed out that, to show that there was no intention to abandon, a shipment was made to this country from Tarragona, of the Monks' liqueur, under the old marks. But it is not necessary to rest on that. The attitude of the Monks in their efforts here and in other countries to prevent the use of the old marks shows clearly that there has been no intention to abandon.
The liquidator was not moved to the use of the marks in question by any consideration of abandonment on the part of the Monks, but by virtue of their exclusion from their former abode and of the rights of succession which he claimed under the French law. The main issue between the parties has been one of title, "each claiming a right to the disputed marks to the exclusion of the other." The respective parties, and those representing them, have been in constant litigation in France and elsewhere since the liquidator was appointed, and reviewing the facts in this case we find no possible ground upon which it can be said that the Monks have abandoned the rights they possessed.
We come then to the question of remedy.
In view of the acts of the defendant, with respect to the marks, labels, and bottles shown to have been used in connection with the liqueur made at Fourvoirie after the removal of the Monks, the decree adjudging it guilty of infringement and unfair competition was plainly right. We are also of the opinion that the provisions of the injunction against infringement and simulation, set forth in the decree of the Circuit Court, were proper.
In dealing, however, with the question of unfair trade, it is to be remembered that the liquidator, and the French
These considerations, undoubtedly, led the court below to modify the decree by inserting the words — "unless so used as clearly to distinguish such liqueur or cordial from the liqueur or cordial manufactured by the complainants." But this insertion was made in connection with that portion of the injunction which related to the trade-mark, and this, we think, was error. It amounted, by reason of the juxtaposition with what preceded, to a permission to the defendant to use the trade-mark "Chartreuse" or that word as the name or description of its liqueur, provided it were distinguished from the liqueur of the Monks. This was inconsistent with the decree as to the ownership of the trade-mark.
The modification, in this form, should therefore be
The decree will be amended accordingly, as shown in the margin.
After the decision by the court below, application was made by the complainants for an injunction against the use by the defendant, in connection with its liqueur, of the words "Peres Chartreux." The injunction was not granted, but, the parties having been heard, the court adjudged
In the opinion of the Circuit Court of Appeals upon the appeal from the decree on the main issue, there were set forth two forms of labels which, it was suggested, might properly be used by the defendant, printed in any language. In the contempt proceeding it was shown that the defendant followed closely one of these forms, but used in place of the words "Carthusian Monks," as these there appeared, the description "Peres Chartreux."
In view of the language of its opinion, and the permission it implied, it is clear that the court rightly held that the defendant should not be fined for contempt. But, in saying this, we do not wish to be understood as approving the suggested forms of labels, for they seem to us objectionable in view of the arrangement of the inscription and the special prominence given to the words "Grande Chartreuse." Nor does the making of a fair and adequate statement as to the liqueur of the defendant, its origin and manufacture, require the use of the words "Peres Chartreux," and we are unable to escape the conclusion that such use, in the manner shown, was to serve the purpose of simulation, and to draw to the defendant's liqueur the reputation of that of the Monks, contrary to the provisions of the decree.
For the reasons we have stated, the order of the court below in the contempt proceeding is affirmed, but without prejudice to any future application.
The decree is reversed and the cause is remanded with directions to enter a decree in favor of the complainants, amending the decree entered in the Circuit Court in accordance with this opinion; and the order in the contempt proceeding is affirmed without prejudice to any future application.