Torts Keyed to Dobbs
Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Stiffel Co
The Respondent secured design patents on a “pole lamp”, a vertical tube with light fixtures attached, that runs from floor to ceiling. The lamp enjoyed strong commercial success, and shortly after its manufacture the Petitioner retailer began marketing a lamp of almost identical design. Given its size and national retail operation, the Petitioner was able to sell the item at a significantly lower price than the Respondent. The latter brought an action against the Petitioner alleging patent infringement and confusion of trade. Although the lamps were not patented under federal law, the district court enjoined the Petitioner from selling the lamps and ordered it to pay damages to the Respondent.
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