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Lexmark International, Inc. v Static Control Components, Inc.

Case No. 12-873 (Sup. Ct., Mar. 25, 2014)

Petitioner Lexmark sells the only style of toner cartridges that work with the company’s laser printers, but “remanufacturers” acquire and refurbish used Lexmark cartridges to sell in competition with Lexmark’s own new and refurbished ones. Lexmark’s “Prebate” program gives customers a discount on new cartridges if they agree to return empty cartridges to the company. Each Prebate cartridge has a microchip that disables the empty cartridge unless Lexmark replaces the chip. Respondent Static Control, a maker and seller of components for the remanufacture of Lexmark cartridges, developed a microchip that mimicked Lexmark’s. Lexmark sued for copyright infringement, but Static Control counterclaimed, alleging that Lexmark engaged in false or misleading advertising in violation of §43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U. S. C. §1125(a), and that its misrepresentations had caused Static Control lost sales and damage to its business reputation. The District Court held that Static Control lacked “prudential standing” to bring the Lanham Act claim, applying a multifactor balancing test the court attributed to Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Carpenters, 459 U. S. 519. In reversing, the Sixth Circuit relied on the Second Circuit’s “reasonable interest” test.

Held: Static Control has adequately pleaded the elements of a Lanham Act cause of action for false advertising. Pp. 6–22. (a) The question here is whether Static Control falls within the class of plaintiffs that Congress authorized to sue under §1125(a). To decide that question, this Court must determine the provision’s meaning, using traditional principles of statutory interpretation. It is misleading to label this a “prudential standing” question. Lexmark bases its “prudential standing” arguments on Associated General Contractors, but that case rested on statutory considerations: The Court sought to “ascertain,” as a statutory-interpretation matter, the “scope of the private remedy created by” Congress in §4 of the Clayton Act, and the “class of persons who [could] maintain a private damages action under” that legislatively conferred cause of action, 459 U. S., at 529, 532. And while this Court may have placed the “zone of interests” test that Static Control relies on under the “prudential” rubric in the past, see, e.g., Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U. S. 1, 12, it does not belong there any more than Associated General Contractors does. Rather, whether a plaintiff comes within the zone of interests requires the Court to determine, using traditional statutory-interpretation tools, whether a legislatively conferred cause of action encompasses a particular plaintiff ’s claim. See, e. g., Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U. S. 83, 97, and n. 2. Pp. 6–9
 

 

Judge(s): Antonin Scalia
Jurisdiction: U.S. Supreme Court
Related Categories: Copyright , Trademark
 
Supreme Court Judge(s)
Samuel Alito
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
Clarence Thomas

 
Amicus Lawyer(s) Amicus Law Firm(s)
Randy Stutz American Antitrust Institute
Angela Campbell Georgetown University Law Center
Paul Smith Jenner & Block LLP
Mary Ross Plunkett Clooney
Anthony Dreyer Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP

 
Petitioner Lawyer(s) Petitioner Law Firm(s)
Steven Loy Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

 
Respondent Lawyer(s) Respondent Law Firm(s)
Seth Greenstein Constantine Cannon LLP

 

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ing’ is a misnomer” as applied to the zone-of-interests results: as we have observed, a defendant who “‘seeks to it further maintained that lexmark’s misrepresentations lanham act, 15 u. s. c. §1125(a). assume, is familiar with the common-law rule and does in the cause of action created by the racketeer influenced he or she is likely to be damaged” by a defendant’s false harm alleged has a sufficiently close connection to the bate cartridges sold (or not sold) by the remanufacturers and the number of prebate microchips sold (or not sold) by control’s suit, but whether congress in fact did so. just adequate basis to proceed under §1125(a), it cannot obtain in sum, the question this case presents is whether static which requires only that the plaintiff ’s injury be fairly traceable to the nett, supra, at 164. the zone-of-interests test is therefore e.g., dura pharmaceuticals, inc. v. broudo, 544 u. s. 336, general prohibition on a litigant’s raising another person’s statutory interpretation: does the cause of action in quiring that the plaintiff ’s injury be within the relevant —————— e.g., holmes v. securities investor protection corporation, _________________ opinion of the court duct.” id., at 44, ¶88. static control sought treble dam­ —————— causes of action for judicial review. “we have made clear, lacked “prudential standing” to bring the lanham act claim, apply- quaker state-slick 50, inc., 165 f. 3d 221, 233–234 (ca3 cartridge to lexmark once it was empty. those terms vant considerations: no party makes that argument, however, and the “unlike­ atic. “[t]he difficulty that can arise when a court attempts no. 12–873 ii. “prudential standing” businesses, called “remanufacturers,” acquire used lex- cognizable under article iii, but he cannot invoke the here, “protect[ing] persons engaged in [commerce within the control cause we think that label misleading, we begin by clarify­ sue under §1125(a). return empty cartridges to the company. each prebate cartridge has 346 (2005) (securities fraud); holmes, supra, at 268–270 at 1170. even a business misled by a supplier into pur­ ___ (2012) (slip op., at 15). in that context we have often advertising. §1125(a)(1). read literally, that broad lan­ plaintiffs to recover persuades us that [§1125(a)] should zone of interests and the second and third as requiring ciation of such person with another person, or as to 9cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) support standing under a strict application of the “‘“gen­ first, static control alleged that lexmark disparaged lexmark did not take kindly to that development. in see exxon co., u. s. a. v. sofec, inc., 517 u. s. 830, 838– proximate-cause requirement supplies the relevant limits had “proximately caused and [we]re likely to cause injury 539, 562–563 (ca5 2001); gilbert/robinson, inc. v. carrie includes the intervening link of injury to the remanufac­ 479 u. s. 388, 394–395 (1987); holmes, supra, at 288 cases within its jurisdiction “is ‘virtually unflagging.’” opinion of the court lihood that congress meant to allow all factually injured syllabus th[o]se interests were harmed by lexmark’s statements to a. zone of interests establish proximate causation, then the complaint must be dismissed; if not under the act’s aegis. (somewhat redundantly) proximate causation; but it is not lieve that they are legally bound by the prebate terms and than sell those cartridges to a remanufacturer. so precisely the sorts of commercial interests the act pro­ wealth of precedent for them to draw upon in doing so. iii. static control’s right to sue under §1125(a) “alleged a cognizable interest in its business reputation to [static control] by diverting sales from [static control] petitor.” 697 f. 3d, at 410 (citing l. s. heath & son, inc. meaning, using traditional principles of statutory interpretation. it vertising; and that occurs when deception of consumers causes them 1 lexmark contends that static control’s allegations failed to describe tive of those suffered by consumers deceived by the advertising. but “(1) the nature of the plaintiff ’s alleged injury: is language notwithstanding. conduct the statute prohibits. ordinarily must show economic or reputational injury deciding lanham act standing,” as the district court had “(b) in commercial advertising or promotion, mis­ “conspicuously included the word ‘arguably’ in the test to cause of action in §1125(a).5 therefore afforded relief under §1125(a) not only where a any combination thereof, or any false designation of form of remanufacturers of lexmark’s cartridges”; that the parties’ briefs treat the question on which we ciple that “a federal court’s ‘obligation’ to hear and decide” of third-party standing, and consideration of that doctrine’s proper entered into between the united states and foreign ing the nature of the question at issue in this case. field wrote that “there need be no competition in unfair that opening the box would indicate assent to the terms— (c) under these principles, static control comes within the class of guage. to be sure, a plaintiff who does not compete with measure its “prudential standing” by using the zone-of­ reputation proximately caused by the defendant’s mis- control’s lanham act claim. no. 12–873. argued december 3, 2013—decided march 25, 2014 tions. this case, it is true, does not present the “classic very different as a practical matter, to say that the limita­ 1980). finally, experience has shown that the conte bros. or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or asso­ 839 (1996); pacific operators offshore, llp v. valladolid, and deception in such commerce by the use of repro­ indicate that the benefit of any doubt goes to the plaintiff,” there is no reason to regard either party’s injury as de- constitutional “cases” or “controversies.” see, e.g., lance v. coffman, contractors, but that case rested on statutory considerations: the ute.” association of battery recyclers, inc. v. epa, 716 ment). that venerable principle reflects the reality that see united states v. detroit timber & lumber co., 200 u. s. 321, 337. damages the product’s reputation by, for example, equat­ static control as well. taking static control’s assertions law invoked.’” elk grove unified school dist. v. newdow, 1(slip opinion) october term, 2013 association cases; a typical false-advertising case will opinion of the court are thus required to return the prebate-labeled cartridge or constitutional power to adjudicate the case.’ ” verizon md. inc. v. defendant’s antitrust violations. id., at 532–533. later and concurring in judgment) (slip op., at 3). proximate­ 97, and n. 2. pp. 6–9. §1125(a). section 1125(a) provides: “(1) any person who, on or in connection with any by the law invoked.” allen v. wright, 468 u. s. 737, 751. “[t]he it is so ordered. who can satisfy the minimum requirements of article iii. cannot quantify its losses with sufficient certainty to re- at face value, there is likely to be something very close to a f. 3d 468, 470 (ca9 1995); phoenix of broward, 489 f. 3d, lexmark engaged in false or misleading advertising in violation of whether a person in the litigant’s position will have a right of action on holmes, supra, at 287–288 (scalia, j., concurring in act.” pet. for cert. i; 569 u. s. ____ (2013).2 article iii and “not exhaustively defined” but encompass­ a microchip that disables the empty cartridge unless lexmark re- fair competition” was understood at common law to be concerned fendant’s advertising; and that that occurs when deception scalia, j., delivered the opinion for a unanimous court. §1964(c)); anza v. ideal steel supply corp., 547 u. s. 451, not get such an expansive reading.” holmes, 503 u. s., at does not implicate subject-matter jurisdiction, i.e., the court’s statutory realty, inc. v. fnc, inc., 634 f. 3d 787, 800–801 (ca5 infringement, but static control counterclaimed, alleging that utes of varying character that do not themselves include judgment). it is “perhaps more accurat[e],” though not components, inc. within the zone of interests requires the court to determine, using microchips violated both the copyright act of 1976, 17 trol’s lanham act claim. 697 f. 3d, at 423. taking the “(2) the directness or indirectness of the asserted advertising as a form of unfair competition, it can protect lexmark’s own new and refurbished ones. lexmark’s “prebate” pro- tion give it standing under article iii to press its false­ see, e.g., procd, inc. v. zeidenberg, 86 f. 3d 1447, 1449 static control’s lanham act claim. it held that static place in the standing firmament can await another day. 3cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) the sixth circuit in this case. as typically formulated, v. at&t information systems, inc., 9 f. 3d 561, 575 (ca7 (3) direct application of the zone-of-interests test and the proxi- (clayton act). no party disputes that it is proper to read claimant can demonstrate ‘(1) a reasonable interest to be infringed lexmark’s patents”). when a defendant harms ductions, copies, counterfeits, or colorable imitations opinion of the court cation. indeed, its vague language can be understood as that in turn affect the plaintiff. for example, while a lexmark. first, it alleged that through its prebate pro­ balancing test derived from associated general contrac- all commercial injuries from false advertising are deriva­ we decline to adopt any of them. we hold instead that a 10 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control graphic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, 2011). that is consistent with our recognition that under bases its “prudential standing” arguments on associated general §1125(a)(1)(b). see waits v. frito-lay, inc., 978 f. 2d not mean to displace it sub silentio. we have thus con­ components for the remanufacture of lexmark cartridges, developed 1cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) market for cartridges compatible with its printers. that put differently, the proximate-cause requirement gener­ upon closer inspection, we have found that label inapt. take, for 697 f. 3d 387, affirmed. trademark and false advertising law, 159 u. pa. l. rev. on civil liability—the zone-of-interests test no less than the require­ “(a) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. tent to an otherwise nebulous inquiry, but we think it safe co. v. mosler safe co., 7 f. 2d 603, 604 (ca2 1925) dential” branch of standing, a doctrine not derived from facturers with toner and various replacement parts, static is not whether the plaintiff ’s interest is “reasonable,” but a cause of action. in doing so, we apply traditional princi­ 1093, 1108 (ca9 1992). static control alleged only false static control is not itself a manufacturer or remanu­ a “motivating principle” behind the proximate-cause re­ 21cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) element of “prudential standing”). this case does not present any issue notify the reporter of decisions, supreme court of the united states, wash­ nims, the law of unfair competition and trade-marks, we sought to “ascertain,” as a matter of statutory interpre­ applying those principles to static control’s false­ 2 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control resentations had caused static control lost sales and damage to its thus inducing customers to switch.’” harold h. huggins 15cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) 1971); serbin v. ziebart int’l corp., 11 f. 3d 1163, 1177 competition with new and refurbished cartridges sold by is misleading to label this a “prudential standing” question. lexmark ground limitations on suit under §1125(a). see tr. of alleged two types of false or misleading conduct by 12 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control and nn. 3–4, it is an element of the cause of action under the statute, 8 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control promotion. and its airbag supplier may suffer reputational injury, and d. dobbs, r. keeton, & d. owen, prosser and keeton on law of torts they are sufficient, then the plaintiff is entitled to an opportunity to that static control sold 10,000 fewer microchips for the take to infer that because the lanham act treats false “(3) the proximity or remoteness of the party to the persons ha[s] a right to sue under this substantive stat­ legislation; to protect persons engaged in such com­ advertising, then it would follow more or less automatically newdow, 542 u. s. 1, 12, it does not belong there any more than as- sumer deception is not fatal to the showing of proximate advertising suit, a plaintiff must allege an injury to a commercial in- plaintiff ’s that the statute protects. even when a plaintiff * * * defendant’s conduct. like the zone-of-interests test, see supra, at 8–9, there is no doubt that it is within the zone of interests chasing an inferior product is, like consumers generally, merely because “prudence” dictates. & indemnity co., 553 u. s. 639, 656. thus, a plaintiff suing under 1305, 1376–1379 (2011). (rico); associated gen. contractors, supra, at 529–535 competition law, are not before us. our review pertains only to static control developed a microchip that could mimic the micro­ competitors, and the plaintiff merely suffered collateral tion is not required for proximate cause; and that is true —————— we thus hold that to come within the zone of interests in against unfair competition.” although “unfair competi­ ferred cause of action encompasses a particular plaintiff ’s claim. slightly off the mark. the first factor can be read as re­ 2 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control opinion of the court ham act]? trol’s business was illegal. see 697 f. 3d, at 411, n. 10 promote his own interests by telling a known falsehood to cause of action. the question it presents is whether the under §1125(a). these principles provide better guidance than the eral application”; and that congress is presumed to “legis­ harmed by the attack on its merchandise. this case requires us to decide whether respondent, of registered marks; and to provide rights and reme­ with the company’s laser printers, but “remanufacturers” acquire and protection of the lanham act—a conclusion reached by §36, pp. 229–230 (5th ed. 1984); see cases cited id., at 222–227; gorris the syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the court but has been notice: this opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the and damage to its business reputation—are injuries to prebate cartridges and, in particular, that it was illegal to to withhold trade from the plaintiff. pp. 13–15. such act.” turers. static control’s allegations therefore might not false advertising generally will be able to sue for its losses, components, inc. proper application of the constitution and laws, and seeking relief that accurate guidance than the “reasonable interest” test. static control is entitled to a chance to prove its case. bennett v. spear, 520 u. s. 154, 163 (1997); see also be damaged by the alleged false advertising.’” 697 f. 3d, ganizations, inc. v. camp, 397 u. s. 150 (1970), as a limi­ statements, lexmark had materially misrepresented “the unfair competition was understood not to be limited to proximately caused the plaintiff ’s harm. bridge, 553 they are barred for constitutional reasons, not “prudential” ones. the as relevant to its lanham act claim, static control opinion of the court mately caused by violations of the statute. for centuries, it sales and damage to its business reputation—fall within the zone of which enabled customers to purchase new toner cartridges policies reflected in” article iii), valley forge christian college v. control’s injuries to consumer confusion is not direct, but the sixth circuit “the judicial remedy cannot encompass every conceivable plaintiff must have suffered or be imminently threatened 503 u. s. 258, 265–268 (1992) (relying on associated gen- in apportioning damages.” 165 f. 3d, at 233 (citations places the chip. respondent static control, a maker and seller of 4 we have on occasion referred to this inquiry as “statutory standing” tied to the defendant’s conduct. in short, we think the fewer refurbished cartridges because of lexmark’s false identifying the interests protected by the lanham act, tric company, and other commercial parties who suffer example, our reluctance to entertain generalized grievances—i.e., suits 17cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) disable the cartridge after it ran out of toner; for the car­ ductory note, pp. 536–537 (1938). 549 u. s. 437, 439 (2007) (per curiam); daimlerchrysler corp. v. cuno, goods, services, or commercial activities by another tation, the “scope of the private remedy created by” con­ v. audiofidelity, inc., 746 f. 2d 120, 122, 125 (ca2 1984). gress in §4 of the clayton act, and the “class of persons with injuries to business reputation and present and future sales. appeals for the sixth circuit and sales to remanufacturers and sufficiently alleged that commerce from interference by state, or territorial supreme court of the united states components, inc. components, inc. plaintiffs whose injuries were proximately caused by a at a 20-percent discount if they would agree to return the v. scott, [1874] 9 l. r. exch. 125 (eng.). statutory causes of action are all suits by noncompetitors would read too much into the sistent with the purposes implicit in the statute that it however, that the breadth of the zone of interests varies as a court cannot apply its independent policy judgment to 459 u. s., at 529, 532. and while this court may have placed the cluded a microchip in each prebate cartridge that would claim of harm, but whether the harm alleged is proximately decide that question, this court must determine the provision’s quirement, anza, supra, at 457–458; but potential diffi­ finally, there is the “reasonable interest” test applied by competition,” just as “[t]here is no soda in soda water, no tion always applies and is never negated, but that our ment of proximate causation, see part iii–b, infra. statute authorizes suit by “any person who believes that conduct, such as when the harm is purely derivative of “misfortunes supreme court of the united states 7 we understand this to be the thrust of both sides’ allegations con­ americans united for separation of church and state, inc., 454 u. s. “unusual, and extraordinarily helpful,” detailed statement actions between competitors. one leading authority in the cashmere inst. of am., inc. v. associated dry goods corp., its roots lie in the common-law rule that a plaintiff may not recover 7cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) flowing directly from the deception wrought by the de­ horse is not a horse but is good enough to hang things merely as a result of the competitor’s “inability to meet advertising claim, and we are satisfied that they do. by several other circuits. conte bros. identified five rele­ this approach reflects a commendable effort to give con­ gen. contractors of cal., inc. v. carpenters, 459 u. s. 519. in revers- to believe that [static control] is engaged in illegal con­ public serv. comm’n of md., 535 u. s. 635, 642–643 (2002) (quoting products and static control’s products. id., at 43–44, ¶85. petitioner lexmark sells the only style of toner cartridges that work bish and resell used prebate cartridges. for alleged harm that is “too remote” from the defendant’s unlawful gamble co., 242 f. 3d, at 563–564; barrus v. sylvania, 55 with a concrete and particularized “injury in fact” that is components, inc. the district court emphasized that lexmark and static (2) had no other use than, refurbishing lexmark toner requiring only the bare minimum of article iii standing. tion, 503 u. s. 258, 268–270. this requirement generally bars suits we have said, in the apa context, that the test is tects. static control is suing not as a deceived consumer, holmes, 503 u. s., at 287 (scalia, j., concurring in judg­ an appropriate tool for determining who may invoke the (1929); see generally 3 restatement of torts, ch. 35, intro­ thus, to come within the zone of interests in a §1125(a) false- more-than-usually “expan[sive]” range of interests. ben- incorporate a requirement of proximate causation. see, profits under §1117(a). see trafficschool.com, inc. v. components, inc. from article iii’s limitation of the judicial power to certiorari to the united states court of appeals for sold microchips that both (1) were necessary for, and cartridges. see app. 13, ¶31; id., at 37, ¶54.7 it follows merce against unfair competition; to prevent fraud the district court granted lexmark’s motion to dismiss airbags for their cars from different third-party manufac­ f. 3d 667, 675–676 (2013) (concurring opinion).3 conte bros. might suggest, an independent basis for deny­ control’s claims under federal antitrust and north carolina unfair­ in a sense, all commercial injuries from false advertising are deriva- limitation, “which applies unless it is expressly negated.” fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant syllabus ibid. lexmark does not deny that static control’s alle- the test are even more substantial: the relevant question has authorized to sue under §1125(a). in other words, we opinion of the court [march 25, 2014] market, however, is not devoid of competitors. other opinion of the court by the administrative procedure act (apa). we have 11cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) in contrast to the multifactor balancing approach, the v. defenders of wildlife, 504 u. s. 555, 560 (1992). the services, or commercial activities, reason for that general tendency is that there ordinarily is lexmark’s alleged misrepresentations. we hold only that done. id., at 410 (citing conte bros. automotive, inc. v. —————— eighth, and eleventh circuits all refer to “antitrust stand­ opinion of the court lexmark introduced what it called a “prebate” program, the remanufacturers that static control was engaging in lexmark international, inc. v. static test under the “prudential” rubric in the past, see, e.g., elk and the injury to the indirect victim, so that the latter visited upon a third person by the defendant’s acts.” id., at 268–269. §1125(a) ordinarily must show that its economic or reputational inju- sales. a consumer who is hoodwinked into purchasing a facturer of toner cartridges. it is, rather, “the market the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her the injury of a type that congress sought to redress in since made clear, however, that it applies to all statutorily opinion of the court injury from false advertising, it is not the only type of 1993); phoenix of broward, inc. v. mcdonald’s corp., 489 lexmark. tions alleged by static control qualify as commercial advertising or the ‘“generous review provisions”’ of the apa may not “irreducible constitutional minimum of standing.” lujan ing it with an inferior product, see, e.g., camel hair and the lanham act. it observed that the third, fifth, ton act, and the “class of persons who [could] maintain a private their sales may decline as a result. in those circumstances, that requires us to determine, using traditional tools of that legislatively conferred cause of action. 459 u. s., at statutory interpretation, whether a legislatively conferred petito[r] directly injur[es] another by making false state­ claims reputational injury from disparagement, competi­ (2009). if a plaintiff ’s allegations, taken as true, are insufficient to in the “counsels of prudence” (albeit counsels “close[ly] relat[ed] to the defendant denigrates a plaintiff ’s product by name, see, commerce; to protect registered marks used in such in the zone of interests protected by that statute and whose injury tion.” steel co., 523 u. s., at 89. but like any other element of a cause of-powers principles underlying that limitation, we have components, inc. describe our analysis in that case in those terms. rather, 19cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) originated in association of data processing service or- supplies at the remanufacturing level, rather than at of congress] against unfair competition,” 15 u. s. c. §1127; and “un- goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in since the lanham act authorizes suit only for commercial injuries, we thus hold that a plaintiff suing under §1125(a) lexmark manufactures and sells laser printers. it also mate cause, and not to any remote cause.” waters v. by a misrepresentation even where “a third party, and not i. background second circuit applies a “‘reasonable interest’ approach,” held: static control has adequately pleaded the elements of a lanham sprint communications, inc. v. jacobs, 571 u. s. ___, ___ static control components, inc., may sue petitioner, lex- that in all cases of loss, we are to attribute it to the proxi­ granted certiorari as one of “prudential standing.” be­ (l. hand, j.), it was understood to be concerned with “shall be liable in a civil action by any person who be­ sells toner cartridges for those printers (toner being the second, we generally presume that a statutory cause of terests and proximate causation supply the relevant back­ 542 u. s. 1, 12 (2004) (quoting allen v. wright, 468 u. s. servation dist. v. united states, 424 u. s. 800, 817 (1976)). 459–460. in these relatively unique circumstances, the and have said that the test “forecloses suit only when a tion” was a “plastic” concept at common law, ely-norris b. proximate cause lief under §1116(a) (assuming it can prove a likelihood of the plaintiff, . . . relied on” it. bridge v. phoenix bond & §1125(a) extend to plaintiffs like static control? the lexmark microchip, remanufacturers were able to refur­ injury. “zone of interests” test that static control relies on under the “pru- deception produces injuries to a fellow commercial actor from “any number of [other] reasons.” anza, 547 u. s., at note: where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is gram lexmark “purposefully misleads end-users” to be­ “the intent of this chapter is to regulate commerce an injury to a commercial interest in sales or business tive of those suffered by consumers who are deceived by (ca7 1996). to enforce the prebate terms, lexmark in­ chiefly on associated general contractors, but we did not §43(a) of the lanham act, 15 u. s. c. §1125(a), and that its misrep- according to the provisions of law at issue, so that what from that allegation that any false advertising that re­ sales. see rogers, book review, 39 yale l. j. 297, 299 ness, the plaintiff ’s injury flows directly from the audi­ lieves that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by ers’ relationships with remanufacturers”; and that interpretation of §1964(c)”). lexmark’s arguments thus do and the fourth and fifth factors are themselves problem­ mere “byproduct of the supposed manipulation of consum­ rested on statutory, not “prudential,” considerations. see, tiff comes within “the ‘zone of interests’” is an issue observed that third-party standing is “‘closely related to the question u. s. c. §101 et seq., and the digital millennium copy­ control lacked “prudential standing” to bring that claim, the popularity of the multifactor balancing test reflects its represents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geo­ (1990) (quoting warth v. seldin, 422 u. s. 490, 500, n. 12 (1975)), but processing, supra, at 156). implicate only the act’s goal of “protect[ing] persons en­ dential” rubric in the past, see, e.g., elk grove unified school dist. v. syllabus ing clarke, 479 u. s., at 400, n. 16, in turn quoting data 3 the zone-of-interests test is not the only concept that we have previ­ for better environment, 523 u. s. 83, 97, and n. 2 (1998); cases cited 2 other aspects of the parties’ sprawling litigation, including the sixth circuit reversed the dismissal of static con­ opinion of the court 547 u. s. 332, 344–346 (2006); defenders of wildlife, supra, at 573–574. control falls within the class of plaintiffs whom congress even if the defendant’s aim was to harm its immediate to ascertain the damages caused by some remote action” is the test is that it lends itself to widely divergent appli- however, requires no guesswork, since the act includes an no view on it. we assume without deciding that the communica­ tushnet, running the gamut from a to b: federal being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. beverage-missouri, inc., 989 f. 2d 985, 990–991 (ca8 6 proximate causation is not a requirement of article iii standing, band of pottawatomi indians v. patchak, 567 u. s. ___, to invoke the lanham act’s cause of action for false opinion of the court false advertising.’” 697 f. 3d, at 410 (quoting famous cannot reasonably be assumed that’” congress authorized iii jurisdiction, lexmark urges that we should decline to the “reasonable interest” test applied below, several amici action is limited to plaintiffs whose injuries are proxi- “claiming only harm to [the plaintiff ’s] and every citizen’s interest in cause analysis is controlled by the nature of the statutory static control’s injury was “remot[e]” because it was a of the statute’s purposes. h. b. halicki productions v. on.” rogers, 39 yale l. j., at 299; accord, vogue co. v. see steel co. v. citizens for better environment, 523 u. s. to be sure, on this view, the causal chain linking static 565 u. s. ___, ___ (2012) (scalia, j., concurring in part opinion of the court eral contractors in finding a proximate-cause requirement steel co., supra, at 89); see also grocery mfrs. assn. v. epa, 693 f. 3d at 410 (quoting famous horse, inc. v. 5th avenue photo the specific purpose of enabling the remanufacture of lexmark’s and treated it as effectively jurisdictional. see, e.g., steel co. v. citizens causation required by the statute. see harold h. huggins of consumers causes them to withhold trade from the of two relevant background principles already mentioned: determining whether a plaintiff has standing to sue under origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false terest” test. traditional statutory-interpretation tools, whether a legislatively con- sales to a direct competitor may be the paradigmatic direct foods, inc., 365 f. 3d 278, 281 (ca4 2004); procter & e.g., mcneilab, inc. v. american home prods. corp., 848 gaged in [commerce within the control of congress] components, inc. eral tendency”’” not to stretch proximate causation “‘“be­ zone of interests protected by the law invoked.” allen, 468 class of plaintiffs that congress authorized to sue under §1125(a). to sociated general contractors does. rather, whether a plaintiff comes affirmed. ask whether static control has a cause of action under the limitations on third-party standing are harder to classify; we have gram gives customers a discount on new cartridges if they agree to yond the first step.”’” holmes, 503 u. s., at 271. but the analysis of certain statutes will show that they protect a complaint fall within the zone of interests protected by the maintain an action for false advertising under the lanham of the lanham act, 60 stat. 441, codified at 15 u. s. c. opinion of the court control components, inc. cannot limit a cause of action that congress has created upon a third person by the defendant’s acts.” holmes, united artists communications, inc., 812 f. 2d 1213, 1214 to remanufacture lexmark cartridges.” 697 f. 3d 387, 396 l. rev. 89, 106 (2009). 16 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control cal., inc. v. carpenters, 459 u. s. 519 (1983). the court rivative of the other’s; each is directly and independently advertising. and although neither party urges adoption of prepared by the reporter of decisions for the convenience of the reader. interests test. although we admittedly have placed that adjudicate static control’s claim on grounds that are duced the remanufacturers’ business necessarily injured business reputation. the district court held that static control 5 although we announced the modern zone-of-interests test in 1971, sion, which permits suit for violations of numerous stat­ 2002, it sued static control, alleging that static control’s 3cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) alleged that upon introducing the prebate program, reputation” by “leading consumers and others in the trade the second, falsely proclaims that the airbags used by the lenient approach is an appropriate means of preserving lexmark’s alleged intended target.” app. to pet. for cert. johnson v. carter-wallace, inc., 631 f. 2d 186, 190 (ca2 (2013) (slip op., at 6) (quoting colorado river water con- opinion of the court opinion of the court in recent decades, however, we have adverted to a “pru­ alleged injurious conduct. ments about his own goods [or the competitor’s goods] and seventh, ninth, and tenth [circuits] use a categorical syllabus u. s. c. §1125(a)(1)(b). that question is not before us, and we express causation by alleging that it designed, manufactured, and 458–459. that is not the case here. static control’s alle­ concluded that static control had standing because it [static control]’s supply level, making remanufacturers plaintiff ’s ‘interests are so marginally related to or incon­ new york, 559 u. s. 1, 10–11 (2010). in a sense, of course, within the control of congress by making actionable competitor who is forced out of business by a defendant’s that the interest is likely to be damaged by the alleged lexmark would prefer that its customers return their the defendant’s conduct), but might instead have resulted turers. if the first carmaker, hoping to divert sales from disappointing product may well have an injury-in-fact refurbish used lexmark cartridges to sell in competition with id., at 29, ¶35. static control asserted that by those whether there is a “reasonable basis” for the plaintiff ’s 14 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control alexander v. sandoval, 532 u. s. 275, 286–287 (2001), it control” when it “falsely advertised that static control interests protected by the act, and static control sufficiently alleged tends only to plaintiffs whose interests “fall within the over the years it has taken various forms; but courts have unless the statute “is interpreted as designed to protect the class of 1998); procter & gamble co. v. amway corp., 242 f. 3d approach, like other open-ended balancing tests, can yield (ca6 2012) (case below). in addition to supplying remanu­ prove them. relief without evidence of injury proximately caused by do so for other purposes.” bennett, supra, at 163 (quot- to begin, static control’s alleged injuries—lost sales illegal conduct.” 697 f. 3d, at 411. we granted certiorari to decide “the appropriate ana- at oral argument, lexmark agreed that the zone of in- in some tension with our recent reaffirmation of the prin­ ence’s belief in the disparaging statements. courts have —————— meaning of the congressionally enacted provision creating the deceptive and misleading use of marks in such mark international, inc., for false advertising under the most of our cases have not framed the inquiry in that way. see, e.g., does so at the expense of distorting the statutory lan­ principles set forth above will provide clearer and more “‘reasonable interest’” test “with greater precision.” conte 1993); waits, supra, at 1108–1109; stanfield v. osborne opinion of the court —————— proximate causation. but a rule categorically prohibiting harm which has in fact occurred as a result of its violation.” w. keeton, strued federal causes of action in a variety of contexts to advertising. lexmark “sent letters to most of the companies in the toner cartridge remanufacturing business” falsely advising a suit for false advertising under §1125(a), a plaintiff must 456 (2006) (affirming that holmes “relied on a careful of obtaining judicial review of administrative action under grievances more appropriately addressed in the repre­ test, permitting lanham act suits only by an actual com­ mccready, 457 u. s. 465, 479 (1982). plaintiffs whose injuries are proximately caused by violations of the and so is subject to the rule that “the absence of a valid (as opposed to supra, at 268–269; see, e.g., hemi group, llc v. city of case if the harm is purely derivative of “misfortunes visited on the toner-cartridge boxes, which advised the consumer static control components, inc. injuries to business reputation and present and future protected by the statute. while we have at times grounded our reluctance to entertain such suits the same is not true of the competitor’s landlord, its elec­ ing a multifactor balancing test the court attributed to associated comes within the zone of interests of a statute for purposes although static control’s claim thus presents a case or correct to treat those requirements, which must be met in unpredictable and at times arbitrary results. see, e.g., 529, 532. we held that the statute limited the class to been damaged by lexmark’s false advertising. §1127. leader [in] making and selling the components necessary and internal quotation marks omitted). merchants’ louisville ins. co., 11 pet. 213, 223 (1837); see 799 f. 2d 6, 7–8, 11–12 (ca1 1986); ppx enterprises, inc. large.” lujan v. defenders of wildlife, 504 u. s. 555, 573–574 (1992). persons in which the plaintiff is included, against the risk of the type of not deserve the “prudential” label. app. to pet. for cert. 83, relying on a multifactor balanc­ multifactor balancing test urged by lexmark, the direct-competitor (1) a statutory cause of action is presumed to extend only to realty, 634 f. 3d, at 799, n. 24. but although diversion of a microchip that mimicked lexmark’s. lexmark sued for copyright a plaintiff ’s reputation by casting aspersions on its busi­ ington, d. c. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order “(5) the risk of duplicative damages or complexity culty in ascertaining and apportioning damages is not, as breadth of [that] zone . . . varies according to the provisions of law at harm that can be traced to alleged wrongdoing.” associ- ously classified as an aspect of “prudential standing” but for which, components, inc. reasonable interest to be protected against the alleged (ca3 1993); made in the usa foundation v. phillips 737, 751 (1984)). guage might suggest that an action is available to anyone f. 3d 1156, 1162–1164 (ca11 2007)). by contrast, “[t]he oral arg. 4–5, 11–12, 17–18. but it urges us to adopt, as pp. 15–18. ry flows directly from the deception wrought by the defendant’s ad- ing trademarks, trade names, and unfair competition 83. gations suggest that if the remanufacturers sold 10,000 iv. application prebate cartridges. comment h (1977); emphasis added in bridge). (a) the question here is whether static control falls within the was proximately caused by a violation of that statute. pp. 10–18. improvement over the language of “prudential standing,” since it gations of lost sales and damage to its business reputa- arguable) cause of action does not implicate subject-matter jurisdic­ same reason, without the need for any “speculative . . . traditional proximate-causation principles support those chip in lexmark’s prebate cartridges. by purchasing only for commercial injuries, the intervening step of con­ lated by the third circuit in conte bros. and later adopted “scope of the private remedy created by” congress in §4 of the clay- section 1125(a) thus creates two distinct bases of liability: mark toner cartridges, refurbish them, and sell them in replaced by lexmark. 83, 97, and n. 2 (1998); clarke v. securities industry assn., opinion of the court ing or the [associated general contractors] factors in horse, 624 f. 3d, at 113). a purely practical objection to controversy that is properly within federal courts’ article no more directly and tangibly benefits him than it does the public at grove, supra, at 12, it does not belong there any more than or misleading representation of fact, which— preliminary print of the united states reports. readers are requested to act’s reference to “unfair competition” in §1127. by the 5cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) zone of interests and proximate causality. appeal to courts tired of “grappl[ing] with defining” the within the class of plaintiffs whom congress authorized to direct-competitor test provides a bright-line rule; but it damage. consider two rival carmakers who purchase see, e. g., steel co. v. citizens for better environment, 523 u. s. 83, correctly places the focus on the statute. but it, too, is misleading, _________________ associated general contractors does. whether a plain- issue.” bennett v. spear, 520 u. s. 154, 163. the lanham act in- remanufacturers are not “more immediate victim[s]” than tridge to be used again, the microchip would have to be applied the second circuit’s reasonable-interest test and 169, 183–185 (kavanaugh, j., dissenting), and cases cited therein; allege an injury to a commercial interest in reputation or the defendant’s unlawful conduct. that is ordinarily the nations.” legal rights, the rule barring adjudication of generalized 20 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control c. proposed tests of proximate causation. §1125(a) as containing such a requirement, its broad plaintiffs authorized to sue under §1125(a). its alleged injuries—lost own style of cartridges, and it therefore dominates the most of the enumerated purposes are relevant to false­ tors. in the alternative, it asks that we adopt a categorical a “discontinuity” between the injury to the direct victim [its] financial obligations.” anza, 547 u. s., at 458.6 4 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control statute.4 that question requires us to determine the kowalski v. tesmer, 543 u. s. 125, 128–129 (2004) (suggesting it is an cerning static control’s design and sale of specialized microchips for both elements. the judgment of the court of appeals is the claim,’ ” department of labor v. triplett, 494 u. s. 715, 721, n. ** of the d. c. circuit recently observed, “‘prudential stand­ ing (we have said) at least three broad principles: “‘the nature, characteristics, and qualities” of both its own were proximately caused by lexmark’s misrepresenta­ 464, 475 (1982), we have since held that such suits do not present first, we presume that a statutory cause of action ex­ second carmaker are defective, both the second carmaker “commercial advertising or promotion” within the meaning of 15 —————— ing test it attributed to associated gen. contractors of p. vi (4th ed. 1947); 2 id., at 1194–1205. it is thus a mis­ of action, it must be adequately alleged at the pleading stage in order justice scalia delivered the opinion of the court. act cause of action for false advertising. pp. 6–22. activities club of n. y., ltd., 442 f. 2d 686, 691–692 (ca2 mate-cause showing the statute requires. cf. bridge v. phoenix bond “prudential,” rather than constitutional. that request is static control. “where the injury alleged is so integral an use static control’s products to refurbish those cartridges. providing a private remedy for violations of the [lan­ test permitting only direct competitors to sue for false is not surely attributable to the former (and thus also to lanham act false-advertising claim” in which “‘one com­ to lexmark,” and had “substantially injured [its] business emphasized that there were “more direct plaintiffs in the court sought to “ascertain,” as a statutory-interpretation matter, the lytical framework for determining a party’s standing to lexmark’s claims under federal copyright and patent law and static bros., 165 f. 3d, at 231. the theoretical difficulties with ated gen. contractors, 459 u. s., at 536. congress, we to lexmark after a single use. app. 31, ¶39. second, it common-law principles, a plaintiff can be directly injured future injury) or disgorgement of the defendant’s ill-gotten (ca9 1987). section 45 of the act, codified at 15 u. s. c. cludes a detailed statement of its purposes, including, as relevant a practice commonly known as “shrinkwrap licensing,” opinion of the court its business and products by asserting that static con­ under which a lanham act plaintiff “has standing if the that proximate cause is satisfied. blue shield of va. v. that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press. (noting allegation that lexmark “directly target[ed] static test, or the reasonable-interest test applied by the sixth circuit. components, inc. the flexibility of the apa’s omnibus judicial-review provi­ industries, inc., 52 f. 3d 867, 873 (ca10 1995)). and the for the case to proceed. see ashcroft v. iqbal, 556 u. s. 662, 678–679 injury cognizable under §1125(a). for at least two rea­ recognize a cause of action that congress has denied, see §1127, provides: static control. bridge, supra, at 658. 266 (footnote omitted). we reach that conclusion in light 22 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control edriver inc., 653 f. 3d 820, 831 (ca9 2011); johnson & 18 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control cover damages, it may still be entitled to injunctive re- plaintiffs whose interests “fall within the zone of interests protected that plaintiff to sue. id., at ___ (slip op., at 15–16). that on writ of certiorari to the united states court of empty cartridges to it for refurbishment and resale, rather on who may sue. lat[e] against the background of ” the zone-of-interests f. 2d 34, 38 (ca2 1988), but also where the defendant aspect of the [violation] alleged, there can be no question” only the false-advertiser’s direct competitors. indemnity co., 553 u. s. 639, 656 (2008). “(4) the speculativeness of the damages claim. the advertising; but since the lanham act authorizes suit u. s., at 657 (quoting restatement (second) of torts §870, sentative branches, and the requirement that a plaintiff ’s ant’s conduct has proximately injured an interest of the terest in reputation or sales. pp. 10–13. 1:1 relationship between the number of refurbished pre­ plaintiff. that showing is generally not made when the commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or the intervening consumer-deception step is not fatal to the proxi- do so. while none of those tests is wholly without merit, powdery ink that laser printers use to create images on not “‘especially demanding,’” match-e-be-nash-she-wish trol of congress” whose position in the marketplace has resolving “cases” and “controversies,” and the separation­ ing, the sixth circuit relied on the second circuit’s “reasonable in- dies stipulated by treaties and conventions respect- lexmark bases its “prudential standing” arguments direct application of the zone-of-interests test and the although we conclude that static control has alleged an ally bars suits for alleged harm that is “too remote” from it requires a commercial plaintiff to “demonstrate ‘(1) a the optimal formulation of those principles, a multifactor u. s., at 751. the modern “zone of interests” formulation analysis, which asks whether “this particular class of that its injuries were proximately caused by lexmark’s misrepresen- 13cite as: 572 u. s. ____ (2014) static control also sufficiently alleged that its injuries the defendant will often have a harder time establishing paper). lexmark designs its printers to work only with its regularly interpreted to incorporate standard common-law limitations static control, on the other hand, argues that we should false advertising and (2) a reasonable basis for believing (b) the §1125(a) cause of action extends to plaintiffs who fall with- mate-cause requirement supplies the relevant limits on who may sue statute. see, e.g., holmes v. securities investor protection corpora- grapes in grape fruit, no bread in bread fruit, and a clothes static control’s microchips and using them to replace the components, inc. damages action under” that legislatively conferred cause of action, id., at 114–117 (stevens, j., concurring in judgment). that label is an opinion of the court the balancing test lexmark advocates was first articu­ created causes of action; that it is a “requirement of gen­ lay of the land, it identified three competing approaches to opinion of the court person, or representations. static control has adequately pleaded has been “a well established principle of [the common] law, but as a “perso[n] engaged in” “commerce within the con­ were communicated to consumers through notices printed (scalia, j., concurring in judgment). as judge silberman every circuit to consider the question. see colligan v. advertising claim, we conclude that static control comes thus, this case presents a straightforward question of opinion of the court since “the absence of a valid (as opposed to arguable) cause of action inc., 624 f. 3d 106, 113 (ca2 2010)). the sixth circuit cause of action encompasses a particular plaintiff ’s claim. proceedings” or “intricate, uncertain inquiries.” id., at tation on the cause of action for judicial review conferred reasonable basis for believing that the interest is likely to advertising, a plaintiff must plead (and ultimately prove) claimed, alleging, among other things, violations of §43(a) sons, static control’s allegations satisfy the requirement lexmark international, inc., petitioner v. ing standing where it is adequately alleged that a defend­ a great deal of experience applying it, and there is a (2) a statutory cause of action is also presumed to be limited to ages, attorney’s fees and costs, and injunctive relief.1 in addition, static control adequately alleged proximate under the law of negligence for injuries caused by violation of a statute thompson-hudson co., 300 f. 509, 512 (ca6 1924); 1 h. 6 lexmark int’l, inc. v. static control control are not direct competitors. but when a party lexmark’s “alleged intent [was] to dry up spent cartridge protected against the alleged false advertising and (2) a components, inc. pathak, statutory standing and the tyranny of labels, 62 okla. ples of statutory interpretation. we do not ask whether in whether it is one the lanham act protects; and not —————— or about the plaintiff or his product’” may be said to have and corrupt organizations act (rico), 18 u. s. c. who [could] maintain a private damages action under” right act, 17 u. s. c. §1201 et seq. static control counter­ time the lanham act was adopted, the common-law tort of those companies that it was illegal to sell refurbished every case, as mere factors to be weighed in a balance. tations. pp. 18–22. our judgment congress should have authorized static deduced a set of requirements that together make up the the proximate-cause inquiry is not easy to define, and decisions confirm that associated general contractors false association, §1125(a)(1)(a), and false advertising,


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