Trademarks-Unfair Competition-Scope of Federal Jurisdiction Under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act

Plaintiff, a manufacturer and distributor of engine bearings and connecting rods for internal combustion engines, brought suit in a federal district court to enjoin the defendant from marketing and distributing the latter’s products in containers which closely resembled those of the plaintiff, thereby falsely representing that the goods were produced by and originated with the plaintiff. The cause of action was based solely on section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. In dismissing the complaint, the district court ruled that any attempt to characterize the complaint as charging a “false description or representation” was without merit, and that “false designation of origin,” as referred to in the act, is limited to geographic origin and does not encompass “origin by manufacturer.” On appeal from the order dismissing the complaint, held, reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Section 43(a) creates a federal right of action against particular kinds of unfair competition in interstate commerce. Since the complaint charges false description and misrepresentation, as well as false designation of manufacturer, it states a cause of action within the original jurisdiction of the federal courts. Federal-Mogul-Bower Bearings, Inc. v. Azoff, 313 F.2d 405 (6th Cir. 1963).