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BURCHE CO. v. GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY. (06/27/55)

June 27, 1955

BURCHE CO., APPELLANT,
v.
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 24, May T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Sept. T., 1952, No. 310, in case of Burche Co. v. General Electric Company and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Francis B. Haas, Jr., with him Samuel A. Schreckengaust, Jr., and McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for appellant.

John McI. Smith, with him Ernest S. Burch, James H. Stewart, Jr., and Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, for appellee.

Harry F. Stambaugh, with him Herbert B. Cohen, Attorney General, for intervenor, appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Arnold

[ 382 Pa. Page 371]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

This case arose on a declaratory judgment under a case stated. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was given leave to intervene as a party defendant. The court below pronounced judgment in favor of the defendant and the plaintiff appeals.

Burche Co. operates a retail department store in the City of Harrisburg. The General Electric Company, a foreign corporation duly authorized to transact business in Pennsylvania, manufactures as large variety

[ 382 Pa. Page 372]

    of electric fixtures and appliances under the brand and trade name of "General (GE) Electric." These commodities are widely advertised and are in open competition in Pennsylvania with those of the same general class manufactured by others. The General Electric Company has expended large sums of money in promoting and advertising these commodities both in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. It expended for such advertising during the three year period from 1949 to 1951 an amount in excess of $6,000,000, thereby developing a valuable reputation and good will for such commodities and for the trade-mark under which they are produced and sold. General Electric engages in price regulation of its commodities by means of a minimum retail price agreement commonly known as "fair trade contracts," and it has entered into such agreements with other retailers doing business in Pennsylvania.

The plaintiff has been notified by the defendant of the existence of fair trade agreements with other retailers, and also of the stipulated minimum retail prices for the commodities established under these agreements. It has not entered into a fair trade agreement with the defendant, but admits it has wilfully, intentionally and knowingly advertised, offered for sale and sold these commodities at prices below the stipulated retail minimum.

The Act of 1935, P.L. 266, as amended by the Act of 1941, P.L. 128, 73 PS ยง 7, provides, inter alia: "No contract relating to the sale or resale of a commodity which bears, or the label or content of which bears, or the vending equipment from which said commodity is sold to the consumer bears the trade-mark, brand or the name of the producer or owner of such commodity, and ...


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