Goodwill - Encyclopedia

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GOODWILL, in the law of property, a term of somewhat vague significance. It has been defined as every advantage which has been acquired in carrying on a business, whether connected with the premises in which the business has been carried on, or with the name of the firm by whom it has been conducted (Churton v. Douglas, 1859, Johns, 174). Goodwill may be either professional or trade. Professional goodwill usually takes the form of the recommendation by a retiring professional man, doctor, solicitor, &c., to his clients of the successor or purchaser coupled generally with an undertaking not to compete with him. Trade goodwill varies with the nature of the business with which it is connected, but there are two rights which, whatever the nature of the business may be, are invariably associated with it, viz. the right of the purchaser to represent himself as the owner of the business, and the right to restrain competition. For the purposes of the Stamp Act, the goodwill of a business is property, and the proper duty must be paid on the conveyance of such. (See also PARTNERSHIP; PATENTS.)

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