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Opinion of the Court.

254 U. S.

same year the Commissioner rejected the application, whereupon on December 26 the claimant paid the tax with interest and a penalty. So far as appears there was no protest at the time of payment and it is found that after it nothing was done to secure repayment of the tax. By Rev. Stats., § 3226, amended by Act of February 27, 1877, c. 69, § 1, 19 Stat. 248, no suit shall be maintained in any Court for the recovery of any tax alleged to have been illegally assessed "until appeal shall have been duly made to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, according to the provisions of law in that regard, and the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury established in pursuance thereof, and a decision of the Commissioner has been had therein: Provided," etc. Regulations of the Secretary established a procedure and a form to be used in applications for abatement of taxes and distinct ones for claims for refunding them. The claimant took the first step but not the last.

By Rev. Stats., § 3220, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is authorized "on appeal to him made, to remit, refund, and pay back" taxes illegally assessed. It is urged that the "appeal" to him to remit made a second appeal to him to refund an idle act and satisfied the requirement of § 3226. Decisions to that effect in suits against a collector are cited, the latest being Loomis v. Wattles, 266 Fed. Rep. 876.-But the words "on appeal to him made" mean, of course, on appeal in respect of the relief sought on appeal to refund if refunding is what he is asked to do. The words of § 3226 also must be taken to mean an appeal after payment, especially in view of § 3228 requiring claims of this sort to be presented to the Commissioner within two years after the cause of action accrued. So that the question is of reading an implied exception into the rule as expressed, when substantially the same objection to the assessment has been urged at an earlier stage.

Opinion of the Court.

ROCK ISLAND, ARKANSAS & LOUISIANA RAILROAD COMPANY v. UNITED STATES.

APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.

No. 82. Submitted November 8, 1920.-Decided November 22, 1920.

The right to sue for the recovery of an internal revenue tax illegally assessed is conditioned upon prior appeal to and decision by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, which means an appeal, after payment, for a refund, and is not satisfied by an appeal or application for abatement of the tax before it was paid. Rev. Stats., §§ 3226 (as amended), 3220, 3228, construed. P. 142. 54 Ct. Clms. 22, affirmed.

THE case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. Thomas P. Littlepage and Mr. Sidney F. Taliaferro for appellant.

The Solicitor General for the United States. Mr. W. Marvin Smith was also on the brief.

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a claim for a sum paid as an internal revenue tax under the Act of August 5, 1909, c. 6, § 38, 36 Stat. 11, 112. It is alleged that the claimant was not engaged in or doing business in the year for which the tax was collected and that therefore it was not due. The Court of Claims dismissed the petition on the ground that the claimant had not complied with the conditions imposed by statute and the claimant appealed to this Court.

The facts are simple. After the tax was assessed a claim for an abatement was sent to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in July, 1913. On December 18 of the

Opinion of the Court.

254 U.S.

same year the Commissioner rejected the application, whereupon on December 26 the claimant paid the tax with interest and a penalty. So far as appears there was no protest at the time of payment and it is found that after it nothing was done to secure repayment of the tax. By Rev. Stats., § 3226, amended by Act of February 27, 1877, c. 69, § 1, 19 Stat. 248, no suit shall be maintained in any Court for the recovery of any tax alleged to have been illegally assessed "until appeal shall have been duly made to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, according to the provisions of law in that regard, and the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury established in pursuance thereof, and a decision of the Commissioner has been had therein: Provided," etc. Regulations of the Secretary established a procedure and a form to be used in applications for abatement of taxes and distinct ones for claims for refunding them. The claimant took the first step but not the last.

By Rev. Stats., § 3220, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is authorized "on appeal to him made, to remit, refund, and pay back" taxes illegally assessed. It is urged that the “appeal" to him to remit made a second appeal to him to refund an idle act and satisfied the requirement of § 3226. Decisions to that effect in suits against a collector are cited, the latest being Loomis v. Wattles, 266 Fed. Rep. 876.-But the words "on appeal to him made" mean, of course, on appeal in respect of the relief sought on appeal to refund if refunding is what he is asked to do. The words of § 3226 also must be taken to mean an appeal after payment, especially in view of § 3228 requiring claims of this sort to be presented to the Commissioner within two years after the cause of action accrued. So that the question is of reading an implied exception into the rule as expressed, when substantially the same objection to the assessment has been urged at an earlier stage.

143.

Opinion of the Court.

It appears that after the plaintiff's predecessors in title had used the mark for some years it was registered under the Act of Congress of March 3, 1881, c. 138, 21 Stat. 502, and again under the Act of February 20, 1905, c. 592, 33 Stat. 724. Both the Courts below agree that subject to the one question to be considered the plaintiff has a right to equitable relief. Whatever may have been its original weakness, the mark for years has acquired a secondary significance and has indicated the plaintiff's product alone. It is found that defendant's mixture is made and sold in imitation of the plaintiff's and that the word Koke was chosen for the purpose of reaping the benefit of the advertising done by the plaintiff and of selling the imitation as and for the plaintiff's goods. The only obstacle found by the Circuit Court of Appeals in the way of continuing the injunction granted below was its opinion that the trade-mark in itself and the advertisements accompanying it made such fraudulent representations to the public that the plaintiff had lost its claim to any help from the Court. That is the question upon which the writ of certiorari was granted and the main one that we shall discuss.

Of course a man is not to be protected in the use of a device the very purpose and effect of which is to swindle the public. But the defects of a plaintiff do not offer a very broad ground for allowing another to swindle him. The defence relied on here should be scrutinized with a critical eye. The main point is this: Before 1900 the beginning of the good will was more or less helped by the presence of cocaine, a drug that, like alcohol or caffein or opium, may be described as a deadly poison or as a valuable item of the pharmacopoea according to the rhetorical purposes in view. The amount seems to have been very small, but it may have been enough to begin a bad habit and after the Food and Drug Act of June 30, 1906, c. 3915, 34 Stat. 768, if not earlier, long before this

Opinion of the Court.

254 U.S.

suit was brought, it was eliminated from the plaintiff's compound. Coca leaves still are used, to be sure, but after they have been subjected to a drastic process that removes from them every characteristic substance except a little tannin and still less chlorophyl. The cola nut, at best, on its side furnishes but a very small portion of the caffein, which now is the only element that has appreciable effect. That comes mainly from other sources. It is argued that the continued use of the name imports a representation that has ceased to be true and that the representation is reinforced by a picture of coca leaves and cola nuts upon the label and by advertisements, which however were many years before this suit was brought, that the drink is an "ideal nerve tonic and stimulant,' &c., and that thus the very thing sought to be protected is used as a fraud.

The argument does not satisfy us. We are dealing here with a popular drink not with a medicine, and although what has been said might suggest that its attraction lay in producing the expectation of a toxic effect the facts point to a different conclusion. Since 1900 the sales have increased at a very great rate corresponding to a like increase in advertising. The name now characterizes a beverage to be had at almost any soda fountain. It means a single thing coming from a single source, and well known to the community. It hardly would be too much to say that the drink characterizes the name as much as the name the drink. In other words Coca-Cola probably means to most persons the plaintiff's familiar product to be had everywhere rather than a compound of particular substances. Although the fact did not appear in United States v. Coca Cola Co., 241 U. S. 265, 289, we see no reason to doubt that, as we have said, it has acquired a secondary meaning in which perhaps the product is more emphasized than the producer but to which the producer is entitled. The coca leaves and whatever of cola nut is

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