We are pleased to share with our clients and friends that an article written by our partner, James A. Mitchell, for the Stereoscope publication of the Federal Court Historical Society, has been referenced in
the Battling Brothers of Battle Creek,”
by Dr. Howard Markel, MD, PhD. Dr. Markel is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine, University of Michigan.
Mr. Mitchell’s Stereoscope article entitled, “A Flakey Patent Case” is an account of the 1903 patent suit by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s Sanitas Nut Food Company, against the Voigt Milling Company of Grand Rapids Michigan. Dr. Kellogg’s bran flakes patent was declared invalid over Henry Perkey’s prior shredded wheat, which Dr. Kellogg had learned of on a visit to Perkey in Colorado.
The suit led Dr. Kellogg’s younger brother Will K. Kellogg to form a separate cereal company originally named the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. Although originally Dr. John owned two thirds of the “Toasted Corn Flake Company,” he had transferred much of his stock to employees of his world famous “Sanitarium.” In Dr. John’s absence on a European vacation, W.K. had purchased the stock from the employees, thus acquiring control of the “Toasted Corn Flake” company.
The company’s product packaging featured prominently the facsimile signature of W.K. Kellogg. Dr. Kellogg had not wanted his name associated with any commercial enterprise, lest it tarnish his standing as a physician be impaired. W.K.’s tremendous success, however, led Dr. John to transfer the assets of the “Sanitas” company to a new “Kellogg Food Company.” W.K. sued his brother for trademark infringement, and the long standing “battle of the brothers” was off and running.
You can read the entire history of the amazing, talented and battling Kelloggs of Battle Creek, in Dr. Markel’s excellent 400-page history, now available wherever books are sold. You can read more about the book at:
You can read more about Dr. Markel and other medical histories he has written at:
Mr. Mitchell’s Stereoscope account, and numerous other accounts of fascinating cases litigated in the Federal Court for the Western District of Michigan, or involving Western District attorneys and litigants, can be found at: