The opinion of the court was delivered by: KEECH
This case is before the court on a motion by the defendant to adjudicate the plaintiff in contempt of the decree of September 20, 1952, enjoining the plaintiff from "using or causing to be used in any manner, including advertising by newspapers, circulars, radio, television, or display, the name 'Food Fair' as a title, trade name, or on or associated with merchandise sold or offered for sale" by plaintiff and its subsidiary and associated corporations in Washington and the Metropolitan Area.
The plaintiff contends that it has made a good faith effort to alter its labels so as to comply with the injunction, that it was enjoined only from using the name "Food Fair" as a title or trade name or on its merchandise, and that it cannot be enjoined from using its corporate name to indicate the source of goods sold by it.
Use of a corporate name in packaging goods may be barred if such use results in confusion of source. Waterman Co. v. Modern Pen Co., 235 U.S. 88, 94 (1914); Del Monte Special Food Co. v. California Packing Corporation, 34 F.2d 774 [3 USPQ 15] (9th Cir. 1929). However, the party whose trade name is not a technical trade mark but has acquired secondary meaning is entitled only to such relief as is necessary to prevent confusion resulting from use by a competitor of a similar trade name. Waterman Co. v. Modern Pen Co., supra at 96; John B. Stetson Co. v. Stephen L. Stetson Co., 128 F.2d 981 [54 USPQ 38] (2d Cir. 1942); Fawcett Publications, Inc. v. Popular Mechanics Co., 80 F.2d 194 [27 USPQ 116] (3rd Cir. 1935); Food Fair Stores v. Food Fair, 83 F. Supp. 445 [79 USPQ 114] (D. Mass. 1948), affirmed 177 F.2d 177 [83 USPQ 14].
I find that the injunction in this case does not restrain the plaintiff's use of the words "Food Fair" in combination with other words so as to prevent the use of plaintiff's corporate name in every manner. Hence, I find there has been no willfull violation by the plaintiff of the literal terms of the injunction, and I will deny the motion to adjudicate plaintiff in contempt.
I hold, however, that the intent of the court was to prevent such use by plaintiff of the words "Food Fair," by themselves or in combination with other words, as would cause confusion in the mind of the ordinary prospective purchaser as to whether the article tendered for sale was the product of the defendant or the plaintiff. I am inclined to the view that the plaintiff's labels included in defendant's Exhibit No. 1 may result in confusion of plaintiff's goods with those of defendant, since the ordinary purchaser might assume some association of plaintiff with defendant. The opportunity for such confusion can be avoided by placing in juxtaposition to plaintiff's corporate name words of equal prominence which clearly show that plaintiff is not connected with defendant, such as "not associated with Food Fair stores of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Area." I make no ruling in this matter, however, as it is not before the court on the present motion.
An order will be signed denying the motion to adjudicate in contempt.
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