U.S. Supreme Court
Hedden v. Richard, 149 U.S. 346 (1893)
Hedden v. Richard
Submitted April 24, 1893
Decided May 10, 1893
149 U.S. 346
The language of commerce, when used in laws imposing duties on importations of goods, and particularly when employed in the denomination of articles, must be construed according to the commercial understanding of the terms employed.
This rule is equally applicable where a term is confined in its meaning not merely to commerce, but to a particular trade, and in such case also the presumption is that the term was used in its trade signification.
In an action against a collector to recover an excess of duties paid under protest, the defendant is entitled to show that words employed in a tariff act have a special commercial meaning in the trade, and to have it submitted to the jury whether the imported goods in question came within them.
The case is stated in the opinion.