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U.S. Supreme Court

Inwood Laboratories v. Ives Laboratories, 456 U.S. 844 (1982)

Inwood Laboratories, Inc. v. Ives Laboratories, Inc.

No. 80-2182

Argued February 22, 1982

Decided June 1, 1982*

456 U.S. 844


Respondent manufactured and marketed the patented prescription drug cyclandelate to wholesalers, retail pharmacists, and hospitals in colored capsules under the registered trademark CYCLOSPASMOL. After respondent's patent expired, several generic drug manufacturers, including petitioner manufacturers, began marketing the drug, intentionally copying the appearance of the CYCLOSPASMOL capsules. Respondent then brought an action against petitioner manufacturers and wholesalers in Federal District Court under, inter alia, § 32 of the Trademark Act of 1946, alleging that some pharmacists had dispensed generic drugs mislabeled as CYCLOSPASMOL and that petitioners' use of look-alike capsules and catalog entries comparing prices and revealing the colors of generic capsules contributed to the pharmacists' mislabeling. Respondent sought injunctive relief and damages. The District Court entered judgment for petitioners, finding that, although the pharmacists had violated § 32, respondent had not made the necessary factual showing that petitioners had intentionally induced the pharmacists to mislabel generic drugs or continued to supply cyclandelate to pharmacists who the petitioners knew or should have known were mislabeling generic drugs. The Court of Appeals reversed, rejecting the District Court's findings and holding that the District Court failed to give sufficient weight to the evidence respondent offered to show a pattern of illegal substitution and mislabeling. After completing its own review of the evidence, the Court of Appeals further held that the evidence was "clearly sufficient to establish a § 32 violation."

Held: The Court of Appeals erred in setting aside the District Court's findings of fact. Pp. 456 U. S. 853-858.

(a) In reviewing such findings, the Court of Appeals was bound by the "clearly erroneous" standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a). P. 456 U. S. 855.

(b) By rejecting the findings simply because it would have given more weight to evidence of mislabeling than did the trial court, the Court of

Page 456 U. S. 845

Appeals clearly erred. Determining the weight and credibility of the evidence is the special province of the trier of fact. Because the District Court's findings concerning the significance of the instances of mislabeling were not clearly erroneous, they should not have been disturbed. Pp. 456 U. S. 855-856.

(c) Moreover, each of the conclusions that the Court of Appeals made in holding that the evidence established a § 32 violation was contrary to the District Court's findings. An appellate court cannot substitute its interpretation of the evidence for that of the trial court simply because the reviewing court

"might give the facts another construction, resolve the ambiguities differently, and find a more sinister cast to actions which the District Court apparently deemed innocent."

United States v. Real Estate Boards, 339 U. S. 485, 339 U. S. 495. Pp. 456 U. S. 856-85.

638 F.2d 538, reversed and remanded.

O'CONNOR, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 456 U. S. 859. REHNQUIST, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, post, p. 456 U. S. 864.

Page 456 U. S. 846

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