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DUN v. LUMBERMEN'S CREDIT ASS'N, 209 U.S. 20 (1908)

U.S. Supreme Court

DUN v. LUMBERMEN'S CREDIT ASS'N, 209 U.S. 20 (1908)

209 U.S. 20

MARY B. DUN, Robert Dun Douglass, Francis L. Minton, and Walter D. Buchanan, Executors and Trustees under the Will of Robert G. Dun, Deceased, appts.
LUMBERMEN'S CREDIT ASSOCIATION, William Clancy, and Burton W. Stadden.
No. 138.

Argued January 31, 1908.
Decided February 24, 1908.

Messrs. John O'Connor, Charles K. Offield, Thomas M. Hoyne, and Henry S. Towle for appellants.

Messrs. Charles O. Loucks, Fred H. Atwood, and Frank B. Pease for appellees. [209 U.S. 20, 21]  

Mr. Justice Moody delivered the opinion of the court:

The appellants are the proprietors of a mercantile agency which publishes at intervals a copyrighted book of reference containing lists of merchants, manufacturers, and traders in the United States and the North American British possessions. The book contains information as to the business, capital, and credit rating of those who are enumerated in it. The information is obtained at large expense and is useful to those who are engaged in trade and commerce, who, in large number, subscribe to the privilege of consulting copies of it, which are furnished but not sold to them. The appellee is a corporation engaged in preparing and publishing a similar book, limited, however, to those engaged in the lumber and kindred trades. The book is called the Reference Book of the Lumbermen's Credit Association. The appellants brought in the circuit court of the United States a suit in equity, alleging an infringement of their copyright by the appellee, and praying for an injunction, for an account, and for general relief. After hearing evidence, the circuit court entered a decree dismissing the bill for want of equity, which, with an immaterial modification, was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals. An appeal to this court was then taken.

Both the courts below made findings of fact, which are in substantial agreement. Those findings best appear by quotations from the opinions which follow. The judge of the circuit court said:

The circuit court of appeals said:

We cannot, as we are asked to do by the appellants, reverse the findings of fact made by the circuit court and the circuit court of appeals. Successively considering the same evidence, the two courts agree in the findings. In such a case in a suit [209 U.S. 20, 24]   in equity the findings will not be disturbed by this court, unless they are shown to be clearly erroneous. Towson v. Moore, 173 U.S. 17 , 43 L. ed. 597, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. 332; Brainard v. Buck, 184 U.S. 99 , 46 L. ed. 449, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 458; Shappirio v. Goldberg, 192 U.S. 232 , 48 L. ed. 419, 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 259. An examination of the voluminous testimony shows that it tended to sustain the findings, and that, to say the least, there is no ground for saying that the conclusions drawn from the evidence were clearly erroneous.

Accepting as true the facts found, we think the discretion of the court was wisely exercised in refusing an injunction and remitting the appellants to a court of law to recover such damage as they might there prove that they had sustained. The reasons for this conclusion are tersely stated in the opinion of the court of appeals, which we have quoted, and we approve them.

Judgment affirmed.

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