MERCHANDISE MARKS are the subject of special legislation in the Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887 and 1891, which have for their object the protection of trade-marks and trade descriptions. The two latter terms have received precise definition for the purposes of the Acts. Thus the expression " trade-mark " means a trade-mark registered in the register of trade-marks kept under the Patent, Designs, and Trade-Marks Act, 1883, and includes any trade-mark which, either with or without registration, is protected by law in any British possession or foreign State to which the provisions of that Act are applicable. And the phrase " trade description' means any de scription, statement, or other indication, direct or indirect—(a) as to the number, quantity, measure, gauge, or weight of any goods ; or (b) as to the place or country in which any goods were made or produced ; or (c) as to the mode of manufacturing or producing any goods; or (d) as to the material of which any goods are composed ; or (e) as to any goods the subject of an existing patent, privilege, or copyright. And the use of a figure, word, or mark which, according to the custom of a trade, is commonly taken to be an indication of any of the above matters, is also a "trade description." So also is a Customs Entry relating to imported goods. It will be noticed, however, that a description of quality is not included in the above definition. The following is the definition of a " false " trade description for the purposes of the Acts: " A trade description which is false in a material respect as regards the goods to which it is applied, and includes every alteration of a trade description, whether by way of addition, encement, or otherwise, where that alteration makes the description false in a material respect, and the fact that a trade description is a trade-mark, or part of a trade-mark, shall not prevent such trade description being a false trade description within the meaning of the Act." A verbal false description is not within the Acts. In certain cases the provisions as to false trade descriptions do not apply. This is so where, on the 23rd August 1887, such a description was lawfully and generally applied to goods of a particular class, or manufactured by a particular method, to indicate their particular class or the method of their manufacture. But where such a trade description includes the name of a
place or country, and is calculated to mislead as to the place or country where the goods to which it is applied were actually made or produced, and they are not actually made or produced there, the benefit of the non-appli cation of the Acts is only possible under certain circumstances. These are, briefly, that there is added to the trade description, ininiediately before or after the name of the place or country, in an equally conspicuous manner with that name, the name of the place or country in which the goods were actually made or produced, with a statement that they were made or produced there.
The provisions of these Acts respecting the application of a false trade description to goods extend to the application to goods of any such figures, words, or marks, or arrangement or conibination thereof, whether including a trade-mark or not, as are reasonably calculated to lead business men to believe that the goods are the manufacture or merchandise of some one other than the person whose manufacture or merchandise they really are. And these statutory provisions also extend to the application to goods of any false name or initials of a business man, and to goods with the false name ur initials of such a person applied, in like manner as if the name or initials were a trade description. The expression " false name or initials" means, as applied to any goods, the name or initials of a business man which—(a) are not a trade-mark, or part of a trade-mark ; and (b) are identical with, or a colourable imitation of, the name or initials of any one carrying on business in connection with goods of the same description, and not having authorised the use of his name or initials; and (c) are either those of a fictitious person or of some one not boat fide carryine. on business in connection with such goods.