Rudolf Callmann and the misappropriation doctrine in the common law of unfair competition

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Rudolf Callmann (1892-1976) is a central figure for trade mark and unfair competition lawyers in both the German Civil law and the Anglo-American common law traditions. When he emigrated from Germany in the 1930s he was already the author of two substantial works: one on trade marks and unfair competition, and one on cartel law. In the United States he composed the monumental Callmann on Unfair Competition, Trademarks and Monopolies. As a master of his subject in two entirely different legal traditions, Callmann would be noteworthy enough. What is particularly interesting, though, is the extent to which his influence coincided with the trend in United States law away from a purely tortious conception of unfair competition by passing off, centred on misrepresentation and damage, to one which embraced liability for misappropriation and unjust enrichment. This article deals with Callmann’s role in rescuing the Supreme Court’s International News decision of 1918 from the indifference or hostility which had enveloped it by the 1930s, both by reviving interest in it in his adopted country, and by disseminating his views of its importance and fundamental rightness to the rest of the common law world, in the latter case particularly through his 1942 Harvard Law Review article He Who Reaps Where He Has Not Sown: Unjust Enrichment in the Law of Unfair Competition. ?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-153
Number of pages44
JournalIntellectual Property Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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