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Statement of the Case.
the composition by the petitioner in the United States under the name of “Rahtjen's Composition, Holzapfel's Manufacture.” We think the principle which prohibits the right to the exclusive use of a name descriptive of the article after the expiration of a patent covering its manufacture applies here.
In the manufacture and sale of the article, of course, no deceit would be tolerated, and the article described as “Rahtjen’s Composition" would, when manufactured by defendant, have to be plainly described as its manufacture. The proof shows this has been done, and that the article has been sold under a totally different trade-mark from any used by respondent, and it has been plainly and fully described as manufactured by defendant or its assignors, the Holzapfels. We are of the opinion that no right to the exclusive use in the
United States of the words “ Rahtjen's Composition” has been shown by respondent, and that the decree of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit should be reversed, and that of the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York affirmed, and it is so ordered.
KNOXVILLE IRON COMPANY v. HARBISON.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE.
No. 22. Argued and submitted March 7, 1901.-Decided October 21, 1901.
The act of the legislature of the State of Tennessee, passed March 17,
1899, Statutes of 1899, c. 11, p. 17, requiring the redemption in cash of store orders or other evidences of indebtedness issued by employers in payment of wages due to eni ployés, does not conflict with any provi. sions of the Constitution of the United States relating to contracts.
In the chancery court of Knox County, Tennessee, Samuel Ilarbison, a citizen of said State, on June 2, 1899, filed a bill of complaint against the Knoxville Iron Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Tennessee, alleging
Statement of the Case.
that he was the bona fide holder by purchase in due course of trade of certain specified accepted orders for coal that had been issued by the defendant company in payment of wages due to its employés; that he had made due demand for their redemption in cash according to law, which demand had been refused; and that he was entitled to a decree for the amount of said orders with interest. The company filed an answer, denying that the complainant was a bona fide holder of the orders in question, and alleging an agreement between the company and its employés that the latter would accept coal in payment of said orders, etc.
Proof was taken and the case heard by the chancellor, who rendered a decree in favor of the complainant for $1702.66 as principal and interest of said orders with costs. An appeal was taken by the defendant company to the Court of Chancery Appeals of Tennessee, an intermediate court of reference in equity causes, where the decree of the chancery court of Knox County was affirmed.
The facts as found by the Court of Chancery Appeals are as follows:
“The defendant is a corporation chartered under chapter 57, Acts of 1867—8. The following powers are given by section 4: *To purchase, bold and dispose of such real estate, not to exceed seventy thousand acres, leases, minerals, iron, coal, oil, salt and personal property as they may desire, or as they may deem necessary for the legitimate transaction of their business; to mine, bore, forge, smelt, work and manufacture, transport, refine and vend the same. The company to bave and enjoy, and exercise, all the rights, privileges and powers belonging to, or incidental to corporations, which may be convenient to carry out any business they are in this act authorized to engage in.'
“The defendant has its principal office at Knoxville, where it is engaged in the manufacture of iron. As an incident to this business, it also mines and sells coal. Its mines are located in Anderson County. It works about two hundred employés. It has now and has had for many years a regular pay day, being that Saturday in every month which is nearest the 20th day of the month. Upon this pay day each employé is paid
Statement of the Case.
in cash the amount then due him, excepting what may be due him from the first of the month up to said pay day; that is, the company keeps in arrears with its employés all the time to the extent of their wages for about twenty days' time so far as concerns the matter of cash payments, but they may collect this sum and all sums that may be due them in coal orders, as stated below. It does not and will not pay cash to employés for wages at any other time than upon said regular pay days. Defendant, however, nearly always has on hand in its Knoxville yard a large amount of coal which it sells to all persons who are willing to purchase, whether such persons are its laborers or the public generally. For some time prior to the filing of the bill and at the time the bill was filed the defendant was and had been accustomed to accept from its laborers after work had been performed orders for coal in the following form: “Let bearer have— bushels of coal and charge to my account.
: “The defendant's employés are accustomed to sign orders, and in this form they are accepted by a stamp in these words : “* Accepted
“KNOXVILLE IRON COMPANY.' “Many of the defendant's employés have never drawn an order on the defendant, and many others have used them only in the purchase of coal for themselves; but the defendant in this way pays off about seventy-five per cent of the wages earned by its employés. Many of the employés who draw these orders get small wages, ninety cents to one dollar and twenty cents per day, and sell these orders to get money to live on, but those who get the largest wages, $65.00 to $175 per month, draw more of such coal orders in proportion than do those who get small wages. Defendant has never insisted upon any of its laborers giving any such orders but has been willing to accept such orders when any employé would draw them and ask their acceptance. Defendant, however, sets apart every Saturday afternoon, from one o'clock to five o'clock, for the acceptance of such orders. It makes some profit in accepting said orders in that, instead of paying the wages of its employés in cash, it
Statement of the Case.
pays them in coal at 12 cents per bushel, and also, to some extent, its coal business is increased thereby. On the other hand, such orders are a convenience to the defendant's employés in the way of enabling them to realize on their wages before the regular monthly pay day and up to that pay day. When these orders are drawn by defendant's employés and accepted, defendant credits itself with said orders on its accounts with the persons so drawing them at the rate of twelve cents per bushel for the amount of coal called for by said orders. There is no proof of an express agreement between the defendant and its employés that the orders should be paid only in coal, unless the face of the order shall be construed as setting forth such an agreement. The only proof of any implied agreement to that effect is to be found in such inferences as may be drawn from the face of the orders and from the custom of the company to issue them and the employés to receive them on other than the regular cash pay days and the fact that no employé has ever presented one of such orders for redemption in anything else than coal. There is no proof of any compulsion on the part of the defendant upon its operatives, except in so far as compulsion may be implied from the fact that unless defendant's operatives take their wages in coal orders they must always on each monthly pay day suffer the defendant to be in arrears about twenty days—that is, that on the regular pay day on that Saturday which is the nearest the 20th of the month the defendant will not pay wages, except up to the last day of the preceding month, but will pay in coal orders the whole wages due at the end of each week, and that such is the course of business between the defendant and its employés. The complainant purchased six hundred and fourteen of said accepted orders from defendant's employés, and within thirty days from the issuance of each of said orders he presented each of them to the Knoxville Iron Company, defendant hereto, and demanded that it redeem them in cash, which was refused by defendant. Complainant is a licensed dealer in securities and sent his agents among the employés of the defendant to buy these coal orders. They had previously been selling at seventy-five cents on the dollar-that is, before the passage of chapter 11, Acts of 1899—but he in
Opinion of the Court.
structed his agents to give eighty-five cents on the dollar, and the orders now in suit were purchased at that price. They amount in dollars and cents to $1678.00. There is no evidence of bad faith on the part of the complainant in the purchase of said orders.”
The orders sued on in this case were issued after the passage of the act of March 17, 1899.
From the decree of the Chancery Court of Appeals an appeal was taken by the company to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, by which court the decrees of the courts below were affirmed. The case was then brought to this court by a writ of error allowed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
Mr. Edward T. Sanford for the Knoxville Iron Company. Mr. Cornelius E. Lucky and Mr. James A. Fowler were on his brief.
Mr. John W. Green for Harbison submitted on his brief, upon which brief was also Mr. Samuel G. Shields.
MR. JUSTICE SHIras, after stating the case as above, delivered the opinion of the court.
This is a suit in equity brought to this court by a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee, involving the validity, under the Federal Constitution, of au act of the legislature of Tennessee, passed March 17, 1899, Acts of 1899, c. 11, p. 17, requiring the redemption in cash of store orders or other evidences of indebtedness issued by employers in payment of wages due to employés.
The caption and material portions of this act are as follows: “An Act requiring all persons, firms, corporations, and compa
nies using coupons, scrip, punchout, store orders or other evidences of indebtedness to pay laborers and employés for labor, or otherwise to redeem the same in good and lawful money of the United States in the hands of their employés, laborers, or a bona fide holder, and to provide a legal remedy for collection of same in favor of said laborers, employés and such bona fide holder.