File No. 893.54/322.
The Secretary of State to Minister Reinsch.
Washington, October 26, 1915.
Sir: Receipt is acknowledged of the Legation’s despatch No. 695 of July 20, 1915, with its enclosures, relative to the Vaseline and Eagle Brand milk trade-mark cases.
The Department understands that the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company, an American corporation, had registered at the appropriate office at Shanghai in pursuance of the provisions of Article 9 of the Treaty of October 8, 1903, the company’s trade-mark Vaseline; that imitations, of Japanese manufacture, bearing the company’s trade-mark were sold in China by certain Chinese; that criminal proceedings were brought in the Mixed Court at Shanghai against one Kuang Sung Chiang [Yung Kee Chiang?] for the purpose of having him penalized for infringement and enjoined from further dealing in imitation goods bearing the company’s trademark; and that the Chinese magistrate withheld judgment of conviction on account of representations made by the Japanese Consulate General at Shanghai to the local Chinese authorities, and later declared that the case should be dismissed on the ground that the fact of infringement should first be established in a Japanese court.
It is the opinion of the Department that the Chinese magistrate’s view of this case is wholly unwarranted and that if judgment be withheld or the case dismissed in accordance with this view there would be a violation of the treaty obligation of the Chinese Government fully “to protect any citizen, firm or corporation of the United States in the exclusive use “in the Republic of China “of any lawful trademark which they have adopted and used or intend to adopt and use, as soon as registered” (Art. IX, Treaty of October 8, 1903), and the company would be deprived of the judicial remedies provided by Article IV of the Treaty of November 17, 1880.
Mr. MacMurray’s proposal to protest to the Chinese Government in the event that the magistrate fails to render judgment on the merits of the case is approved, and in communicating the protest to the Foreign Office you are authorized to say that this Government reserves the right to present, in behalf of American citizens or corporations, claims for damages resulting from such denials of justice. It is deemed inadvisable, however, to propose arbitration of such claims at the present time.
I am [etc.]