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Opinion of the Court.
“If the showing made by the plaintiff be incomplete; if the order for the injunction be reversed, because injunction was not the proper remedy, or because under the particular circumstances of the case it should not have been granted; or if other relief be possible, notwithstanding the injunction be refused, then, clearly, the case should be remanded for a full hearing upon pleadings and proofs. But if the bill be obviously devoid of equity upon its face, and such invalidity be incapable of remedy by amendment; or if the patent manifestly fail to disclose a patentable novelty in the invention, we know of no reason why, to save a protracted litigation, the court may not order the bill to be dismissed."
As respects the case at bar, we are satisfied from the averments of the bill and the proof that no supplementary evidence could be offered which would alter the indubitable conclusion that no exclusive right to the trademark or trade name Pocahontas exists in the complainants. Further, we concur in the conclusion of the Circuit Court of Appeals, that the bill, upon its face, is devoid of equity. It is fairly to be inferred from the averments of the bill that it charges that while acting as agents of the owner of one of the mines represented by the defendant, and of the owners of many other mines in the same region or field, there was applied by the complainants to the product of all the mines the appropriate designation Pocahontas coal, a description which applied to all the coal produced by the operators in that region, and which was correctly descriptive of such product. Whether, as claimed, the reputation of the coal was enhanced by careful inspection and grading by the complainants or their predecessors, is left conjectural by the record. But if it be conceded that the proof on this branch of the case was certain, it could operate no change of result. In inspecting and grading the coal, complainants and their predecessors were but agents of the mine owners. Certainly, the agent cannot be heard to say that he may appropriate to himself the name belonging to the product of his principal, or that he may affix the name to coal for his own purposes, and not for the benefit and advantage of his principal.
Keeping in mind the circumstances under which the com
Opinion of the Court.
plainants made whatever use they did make of the appellation
Pocahontas," as applied to coal produced from the Pocahontas coal region, we can perceive no just ground for the claim that there was unfair competition in trade, by reason of the acts averred to have been committed by the defendant. In substance, the alleged wrongful acts were averred to consist in the advertising in various forms by the defendant of the coal handled by him, as “ Pocahontas” coal, when in fact such coal is a “very inferior and very impure coal.” It was also averred, in the alternative, that such acts were done with the intent to cause the purchasers of said coal to believe “that the same was sold by your orators, or is of the quality of that sold by your orators.” The effect of the advertising of the coal handled by the defendant, as "Pocahontas" coal, it is also asserted, is that purchasers of the coal dealt in by the defendant are liable to and will be deceived by such representations into purchasing such coal “as your orators' superior and specially selected coal.” It is further averred that purchasers have in fact been so deceived, and that the “reputation of your orators' “Pocahontas' coal has thereby been tainted.” Leaving out of view the emphatic denial of the defendant, that the coal handled by him is in anywise inferior to that handled by the defendant, it is plain from the averments in the bill that the alleged inferiority in the coal is grounded upon the supposition of a want of careful inspection and grading. We do not think, however, that if it were a fact that it had become generally known and recognized by the public that the complainants, while in the employ of the coal producers of the Pocahontas coal field, inspected and graded the product of the mines in such manner as that thereby the reputation of the coal was enhanced, that the owners of mines producing Pocahontas coal thereby lost their right to designate their coal by its appropriate name, because of the possibility that some person, by reason of the coal being termed what it really was, might be induced to believe that it was still inspected by complainants.
As we have already said, in its final analysis, the right which the complainants assert amounts but to the contention that because at one time they were the agents of the owners of coal
Statement of the Case.
mined from the Pocahontas field, and had sold the same as agents for the owners under its correct name, they thereby divested the owners of their property, and have acquired a monopoly of selling all the coal from the Pocahontas field under its appropriate name. We think there was no error in the decree of the Circuit Court of Appeals, and it is therefore
CLARKE v. CLARKE.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF ERRORS OF THE STATE OF CON
No. 216. Argued April 9, 10, 1900. – Decided May 21, 1900.
It is a doctrine firmly established that the law of a State in which land is
situated controls and governs its transmission by will or its passage in
case of intestacy. The courts of a State where real estate is situated have the exclusive right
to appoint a guardian of a non-resident minor, and vest in such guardian the exclusive control and management of land belonging to said minor, situated within the State.
This writ of error was procured for the purpose of obtaining the reversal of a judgment of the Supreme Court of Errors of the State of Connecticut, wbich, as respected real estate situated in the State of Connecticut, refused to follow and apply a judgment of the Supreme Court of South Carolina interpreting and construing the will of Julia H. Clarke.
The facts from which the legal questions presented arise are as follows:
Henry P. Clarke and Julia Hurd intermarried in New York in 1886, and immediately thereafter went to South Carolina, where they afterwards continuously resided. Mrs. Clarke died on February 10, 1894, owning real and personal property in South Carolina, and also real estate situated in Connecticut. Two daughters survived, one, Nancy B., aged five years, the other, Julia, aged about two months.
Statement of the Case.
A will and codicil executed by Mrs. Clarke were duly established in the court of probate for Richland County, in the State of South Carolina. The will contained the following provisions :
“Fifth. The rest, residue and remainder of my estate, real and personal, of whatever description or wheresoever situated, I give, devise and bequeath as follows: One half thereof to my husband, Henry P. Clarke, and one half thereof to my said husband in trust for my daughter, Nancy, until she becomes twentyfive years of age, and then to pay the whole sum over to her. But if she shall marry before that age with the consent and approval of her father, or in case of his death, with the consent and approval of her then guardian, then I direct that one half of her share shall be paid to her upon her marriage and the other half when she becomes twenty-five.
“In case I shall leave surviving me one or more children beside my daughter Nancy, then I direct that the said rest, residue and remainder of my estate shall be divided equally among my said husband and all of my children, share and share alike, my husband and my children sharing per capita, and the shares of said children to be held in trust as above provided in the case of Nancy as being the only one.
“And I give, devise and bequeath the said rest, residue and remainder as aforesaid, to each and to their heirs and each of them forever."
The infant daughter Julia died shortly after her mother, in the month of May, 1894, owning no property in Connecticut except such as had devolved on her under the will of her mother.
Henry P. Clarke, as executor of the last will and testament of his wife, Julia H. Clarke, and trustee of the estate of Nancy B. Clarke, his infant daughter, brought suit in June, 1895, against said Nancy B. Clarke, in the Circuit Court for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, praying for the “judgment and direction of the court in regard to the true construction of said will, and especially the fifth and residuary paragraph thereof, and as to his powers and duties as such executor and trustee under said will in the premises, and for such further relief as may be just and proper.”
Statement of the Case.
A guardian ad litem was appointed for the infant defendant, who duly answered, and, after hearing, the court decreed that the will of the testatrix, Julia H. Clarke, worked an equitable conversion into personalty at the time of her death of all her real estate of whatsoever description and wheresoever situated; that the plaintiff as executor should receive, administer and account for the same as personalty ; that he was, by the said will, authorized and empowered to sell and convey the same for the purpose of executing the will, and leave was given to apply for further orders and directions upon the foot of the decree. This judgment was, upon appeal, affirmed by the Supreme Court of South Carolina. 46 South. Car. 230.
The controversy in the courts of Connecticut was commenced by the filing, in the probate court for the district of Bridgeport, of a petition on behalf of Henry P. Clarke as administrator of the estate of his deceased daughter Julia Clarke, he having been appointed such administrator by the proper court in Connecticut. In the petition it was recited that Julia had died intestate, leaving real estate in the district, and that divers persons claimed to be entitled to have the said real estate set apart and distributed to them, and the court was asked to hear the claims of said parties and ascertain to whom the estate should be apportioned. A guardian ad litem having been appointed by the court for Nancy B. Clarke, the application was heard, and a decree was entered finding that she was the sole heir and distributee of her deceased sister Julia. The Connecticut law, which devolved on Nancy the whole of the real estate of Julia, differed from the law of South Carolina, by which the estate of Julia, both real and personal, passed equally to the father and to Nancy the surviving sister.
Henry P. Clarke, individually, appealed from the decision of the probate court to the Superior Court of the county of Fairfield. That court filed its findings stating the facts concerning the controversy, and reserved the resulting questions of law to the Supreme Court of Errors of the State, which court recommended that the decree of the probate court be affirmed. 70 Conn. 195. Thereupon the Superior Court of Fairfield County entered a decree in conformity to the mandate to it directed.