Commerce – the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale involving transportation between cities, states, and countries


1. The exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale involving transportation between cities, states, and countries. [1]

 “The Commerce Clause”
of the United States Constitution:

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3

     “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

     To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes

     Excerpt from Erwin N. Griswold’s Law and Lawyers in the United States; The Common Law Under Stress (1964):

     “The Commerce Clause[.] One of the most important provisions of the American Constitution is one which has no counterpart in any aspect of the government of England, though the same general question does arise in other British countries, such as Canada and Australia.  This provision is the Commerce Clause, Article i, section 8 of our Constitution, which provides that ‘Congress shall have Power . . . to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.’ These are simple words, but they have had far-reaching effect.  It is not too much to say, I think, that these words have had more to do with making us a Nation than any other provision of the Constitution. [2]

b Dormant Commerce Clause. (1930) The constitutional principle that the Commerce Clause prevents state regulation of interstate commercial activity even when Congress has not acted under its Commerce Clause power to regulate that activity. -Also termed Negative Commerce Clause.

Types of Commerce:

internal commerce:

1. See intrastate commerce.

international commerce:

1. Trade and other business activities between countries.

interstate commerce:

1. Trade and other business activities between those located in different states; especially, traffic in goods and travel of people between states.  *  For purposes of this phrase, most statutory definitions include a territory of the United States as a state.  Some statutory definitions of interstate commerce include commerce between a foreign country and a state. — aka interstate trade.

intrastate commerce:

1. Commerce that begins and ends entirely within the borders of a single state. — aka internal commerce.



Commerce Court. See COURT.

commerce power. (1888) Congress’s constitutionally conferred power to regulate trade between the states.

commercia belli (ka-mar-shee-a bel-I). [Latin “commerce of war”] (18c) Commercial dealings or contracts between countries at war, or between the subjects of countries at war, under which arrangements for nonhostile dealings

are made.

commercial, adj. 1. Of, relating to, or involving the buying and selling of goods; mercantile <commercial advertising>. 2. Resulting or accruing from commerce or exchange <commercial gains>. 3. Employed in trade; engaged in commerce <commercial travelers>. 4. Manufactured for the markets; put up for trade <commercial products>. 5. Of, relating to, or involving the ability of a product or business to make a profit <commercial potential>. 6. Produced and sold in large quantities <commercial cosmetics>. 7. Pejorative. More concerned with money than with quality <he sold out and became com


commercial acquiescence. See ACQUIESCENCE (1).

commercial acre. (1968) Property. The amount of land left in a subdivided acre after deducting the amount dedicated to streets, sidewalks, utilities, etc. 0 The area of a commercial acre is always less than an actual acre. Cf. ACRE.

commercial activity. See ACTIVITY (1).

commercial-activity exception. (1973) An exemption from the rule of sovereign immunity, permitting a claim against a foreign state to be adjudicated in the courts of another state if the claim arises from private acts undertaken by the foreign state, as opposed to the state’s public acts. See RESTRICTIVE PRINCIPLE OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY; IURE GESTIONIS; JURE IMPERII.

commercial agency. See CREDIT BUREAU. commercial agent. See AGENT. commercial assets. See ASSET.

commercial bank. See BANK.

commercial bribery. See BRIBERY. commercial broker. See BROKER. commercial consignment. See CONSIGNMENT.

commercial court. See COURT.

commercial credit company. See commercial finance company under FINANCE COMPANY.

commercial crime. See CRIME.

commercial defamation. See trade defamation under DEFAMATION.

commercial disParagement. See TRADE DISPARAGEMENT. commercial division. See business court under COURT. commercial domicile. See’ DQMICILE. , commercial driver’s license; See DRIVER’S LICENSE. commercial financet‘co‘mp‘any. See FINANCE COMPANY. commercial franchise. See FRANCHISE (4). commercial frustration. See FRUSTRATION (1). commercial general-liability insurance. See INSURANCE.

commercial goodwill. See GOODWILL. ‘ commercial impracticability. See IMPRACTICABILITY.

commercial insurance. See INSURANCE. commercialized obscenity. See OBSCENITY.

commercial law. (18c) 1. The substantive law dealing with the sale and distribution of goods, the financing of credit transactions on the security of the goods sold, and negotiable instruments. 0 Most American commercial law is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code. —Also termed mercantile law.

“Although the term commercial law is not a term of art in American law it has become synonymous in recent years with the legal rules contained in the Uniform Commercial Code.” Jonathan A. Eddy & Peter Winship, Commercial Transactions 1 (1985).



Q n A _ ,,,, 7“ I \

commercial-law notice. See NOTICE (3). commercial lease. See LEASE. commercial letter of credit. See LETTER or CREDIT.

commercial list. (1825) 1. (often cap.) A branch of a gene eral-jurisdiction court Whose judges have experience and expertise in corporate and business matters, the judges often rotating in other areas of the law <Toronto judges sitting on the Commercial List>. 2. A special docket of business-related cases that are heard by judges with experience and expertise in such matters. 3. A roster of names, addresses, e-mail addresses, etc., sold for business uses.

commercial loan. See LOAN.

commercially reasonable, adj. (1922) (Of a property sale) conducted in good faith and in accordance with commonly accepted commercial practice. 0 Under the UCC, a sale of collateral by a secured party must be done in a commercially reasonable manner, or the obligor’s

liability for any dehciency may be reduced or eliminated. See UCC §§ 9-610(b), 9-626(a)(3).

commercially significant noninfringing use. (1984) Intellectual property. The routine use of a product in a way that does not infringe intellectual-property rights; the judicial test for determining whether the sale of a product amounts to contributory infringement. 0 If the product (such as a video recorder) can be used in a way that does not infringe those rights (such as recording a program in order to watch it at a later time), then its sale cannot be enjoined, nor its manufacturer subjected to a

court-imposed royalty. See Sony Corp. of Am. 1/. Univer. sal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 442, 104 S.Ct. 774, 789 (1984). -Also termed Sony doctrine; substantial nonin. fringing use. Ct. PRIMARY PURPOSE OR EPPECT.

c()mmercial morality. (18c) Collectively, fair practices among competitors. 0 Commercial espionage is often cited by courts as being below accepted standards of com. mercial morality.

commercial name. See TRADENAME. commercial offense. See commercial crime under CRIME. commercial paper. See PAPER.

commercial partnership. See trading partnership under PARTNERSHIP.

commercial set. 1. The primary documents covering shipment of goods, usu. including an invoice, bill of lading, bill of exchange, and certificate of insurance. 2. The documents required under a letter of credit.

commercial sex act. (197 7) Any sexual relations for which anything of value is given to or received by any person.

commercial sexual exploitation of a minor. (1978) Any one of a range of crimes committed against a child or adolescent as a subset of child abuse, including (1) the recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, or maintaining of a minor for sexual exploitation, (2) the exploitation of a minor through prostitution, (3) the exploitation of a minor by exchanging sexual acts for anything of value, such as food, shelter, or drugs, (4) the use of a minor in pornography, (5) the exploitation of a minor through sex tourism, mail-order-bride trade, or inappropriately early marriage, and (6) the exploitation of a minor through performances in sexual venues (such as peep shows and strip clubs). See National Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Tropicking of Minors in the United States 31 (Ellen Wright Clayton et al. eds., 2013). -Also termed sex tra$cking of minors; sexchapicking in minors.

commercial signature. (1878) Trademarks. A trademark (as commonly described).

commercial speech. See SPEECH (1). commercial surety. See compensated surety under SUR m l


commercial tort claim. (1994) A ‘claim arising in tort when the claimant is either (1) an organization, or (2) an indi~ vidual Whose claim arose in the course’of the claimant’s business or profession, and the claim does not include damages arising outof personal injury or death. UCC § 9-102 (a) (1 3). 0 Typical commercial tort claims are fraud and conversion. . M I \ Z a‘ ,

commercial transaction. (18c). A business deal or arrange ment that alters legal rights.

commercial-traveler rule. (1963) Workers’ compensation. The principle that an accident will be treated as occurring during the course of employment if it was caused by an employee whose job requires travel, and the employee was not on a personal errand. 0 The commercial-traveler rule is an exception to the going-and-coming rule. Cf. GOINGAND-COMING RULE.

Commercial unit. (1960) A unit of goods that by commer« cial usage is a single whole for purposes of sale and whose division materially impairs its character or value in the relevant market or in use. UCC § 2405(6). 0 Under the UCC, “a commercial unit may be a single article (as a machine) or a set of articles (as a suite of furniture or an assortment of sizes) or a quantity (as a bale, gross, or carload) or any other unit treated in use or in the relevant market as a single whole.” Id.

commercial use. See USE (1). commercial value. See exchange value under VALUE (2).

commercium (ka-mar-see-am). [Latin] Roman law. The capacity for acquiring or alienating property by civil methods unconnected with conubz’um. 0 Examples

were mancipation, cession in court, and usucapion. Cf. CONUBIUM.

commettant (kom-a-tant), n. (1866) 1. An employer. 2. The principal in an agency relationship.

camminatorium (ka-min-a-tor-ee-am). [Latin comminari “threaten”] (17c) Hist. A clause often included at the end of a writ, admonishing the sheriff to be faithful in the writ’s execution.

commingle (ka-ming-gal), vb. (17C) 1. To put together (as funds or property) into one mass, as by mixing together a spouse’s separate property with marital or community property, or mixing together the separate property of both spouses. 2. (Of a fiduciary) to mix personal funds with those of a beneficiary or client, usu. in an improper

or illegal way. –Also spelled comingle. See COMMINGLING. Cf. TRACING (1).

commingled funds. See FUND, n. (2). commingled goods. See GOODS. [1]

1. Intercourse by way of trade & traffic between different peoples or states & the citizens or inhabitants thereof, including not only the purchase, sale, & exchange of commodities, but also the instrumentalities & agencies by which it is promoted & the means & appliances by which it is carried on, & the transportation of persons as well as of goods, both by land and by sea.  Commerce is a term of the largest import.  It comprehends intercourse for the purposes of trade in any and all its forms, including the transportation, purchase, sale, and exchange of commodities between the citizens of our country and the citizens or subjects of other countries, and between the citizens of different states . The power to regulate it embraces all the instruments by which such commerce may be conducted.   Commerce is not limited to an exchange of commodities only, but includes, as well, intercourse with foreign nations &  between the states; & includes the transportation of passengers.  The words “commerce” & “trade” are synonymous, but not identical.  They are often used interchangeably; but, strictly speaking, commerce relates to intercourse or dealings with foreign nations, states, or political communities, while trade denotes business intercourse or mutual traffic within the limits of a state or nation, or the buying, selling, and exchanging of articles between members of the same community. [3]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Erwin N. Griswold’s Law and Lawyers in the United States; The Common Law Under Stress 82 (1964)

[3]: Black’s Law Dictionary Second Edition Online, “COMMERCE”:

[4]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931


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