CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.
Vinson, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Murphy, Jackson, Rutledge, Burton
Opinion of the Court by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, announced by MR. JUSTICE REED.
The United States filed a libel under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (52 Stat. 1044, 21 U. S. C. § 334),
seeking seizure of 16 machines labeled "Sinuothermic." The libel alleged that the device was misbranded within the meaning of the Act (52 Stat. 1050, 21 U. S. C. § 352 (a)) in that representations in a leaflet entitled "The Road to Health" relative to the curative and therapeutic powers of the device in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment and prevention of disease were false and misleading. It charged that the leaflet had accompanied the device in interstate commerce.
Respondent, Fred Urbuteit, appeared as claimant of several of the devices. He admitted that the devices and leaflets had been shipped in interstate commerce, but denied that they were shipped together or that they were related to each other. He also denied that the statements made in the leaflet were false or misleading. The case was tried without a jury and the articles were ordered condemned. The judgment was reversed by the Court of Appeals. 164 F.2d 245. The case is here on certiorari to resolve the conflict between it and Kordel v. United States, ante, p. 345.
Respondent Urbuteit terms himself a naturopathic physician and conducts the Sinuothermic Institute in Tampa, Florida. The machines against which the libel was filed are electrical devices allegedly aiding in the diagnosis and cure of various diseases and physical disorders such as cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, arthritis, and paralysis. The alleged cures effected through its use are described in the allegedly false and misleading leaflet, "The Road to Health," published by Urbuteit and distributed for use with the machines.
Urbuteit shipped from Florida a number of these machines to one Kelsch, a former pupil of his who lives in Ohio. Kelsch used these machines in treating his patients and, though he did not receive them as a merchant, he sold some to patients. As part of this transaction Urbuteit contracted to furnish Kelsch with a supply of leaflets,
which were sent from Florida to Ohio at a different time than when the machines were forwarded. Kelsch used the leaflets to explain the machines to his patients.
The leaflets seem to have followed the shipment of the machines. But as Kordel v. United States holds, that is immaterial where the advertising matter that was sent was designed to serve and did in fact serve the purposes of labeling. This machine bore only the words, U.S. Patent Sinuothermic Trade Mark. It was the leaflets that explained the usefulness of the device in the diagnosis, treatment, and cure of various diseases. Measured by functional standards, as § 201 (m) (2) of the Act permits, these leaflets constituted one of the types of labeling which the Act condemns.
The power to condemn is contained in § 304 (a) and is confined to articles "adulterated or misbranded when introduced into or while in interstate commerce."*fn1 We do not, however, read that provision as requiring the advertising matter to travel with the machine. The reasons of policy which argue against that in the case of criminal prosecutions under § 303 are equally forcible when we come to libels under § 304 (a). Moreover, the common sense of the matter is to view the interstate transaction in its entirety -- the purpose of the advertising and its actual use. In this case it is plain to us that the movements of machines and leaflets in interstate ...