It is a difficult question which cannot be fully considered here to determine what constitutes doing business within a State by a foreign corporation and the difficulty is increased especially in regard to sales of goods by the provision of the Federal Constitution which intrusts to the National Congress the regulation of interstate and foreign commerce. "The only limitation upon this power of the State to exclude a foreign corpora-tion from doing business within its limits, or hiring offices for that purpose, or to exact conditions for allowing the corporation to do business or hire offices there, arises where the corporation is in the employ of the Federal government, or where its business is strictly commerce, interstate or foreign. The control of such commerce, being in the Federal government, is not to be restricted by State authority." 17 Subject to this important qualification the matter is within the State's control. "The authority of the State to restrict the right of a-foreign corporation to engage in business within its limits or to sue in its courts, so long as interstate commerce be not thereby burdened, is perfectly well settled." 17a
In construing State statutes regulating foreign corporations the courts endeavor to give such a construction as will be in accordance with the Federal Constitution, and if such a construction is not possible, the statutes themselves so far as they go beyond the permitted limits are unconstitutional and void.
Am. Rep. 533; Sinnott v. German-American Bank, 164 N. Y. 386, 58 N. E. 286 (see also 165 N. Y. 646, 59 N. E. 1130); Taylor v. Bell k Bogart Soap Co., 18 N. Y. App. Div. 175, 45 N. Y. S. 939; Loeb v. Firemen's Ins. Co., 68 N. Y. App. Div. 113, 79 N. Y. S. 510; Vandergift v. Bertron, 83 N. Y. App. Div. 548, 82 N. Y. S. 153; Hopp v. McWhirter, 107 N. Y. 8. 823. See also in regard to the effect of a Michigan statute requiring the filing of a certificate Btating certain details of partnership agreements: Denton v. Booth, 202 Mich. 215, 168 N. W. 491, 2 A. L. R. 114, stated supra, n. 15.
17 Pembina Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania, 125 U. S. 181, 190, 31 L. Ed. 650, 8 S. Ct. 737.
17a Interstate Amusement Company v. Albert, 239 U. S. 560, 568, 60 L. Ed. 439, 36 S. Ct. 168, citing Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall. 168, 181, 19 L. Ed. 357; Hooper v. California, 155 U. S. 648, 655> 39 L. Ed. 297, 15 S. Ct. 207; Bank of Augusta v. Earle, 13 Pet. 519, 589, 591, 10 L. Ed. 274; Anglo-American Prov. Co. v. Davis Prov. Co., 191 U. S. 373, 48 L. Ed. 225, 24 S. Ct. 92; Sioux Remedy Co. v. Cope, 235 U. S. 197, 203, 59 L. Ed. 193, 35 S. Ct. 57.
A foreign corporation, therefore, without conforming to local statutes may, except so far as is indicated in the following section, ship its goods into another State to purchasers; and may also solicit orders in such State by advertisement or by traveling salesmen.18 Upon similar principles a buyer for an unlicensed foreign corporation may solicit goods for shipment to his principal.19 But a corporation, although doing only interstate business within a State is not thereby rendered immune from service of process upon its agents.19a
18 Cooper Mfg. Go. v. Ferguson, 113 U. S. 727, 28 L. Ed. 1137, 5 S. Ct. 739; Brimmer p. Rebman, 138 U. S. 78, 34 L. Ed. 862, 11 S. Ct. 213; Stockard v. Morgan, 185 U. S. 27, 46 L. Ed. 785, 22 S. Ct. 576; Crenshaw v. Arkansas, 227 U. S. 389, 57 L. Ed. 565, 33 S. Ct. 294; International Paper Co. v. Massachusetts, 246 U. S. 135, 62 L. Ed. 624, 38 S. Ct. 292; Wagner v. Meakin, 92 Fed. 76, 63 U. S. App. 477, 33 C. C. A. 577; Atlas Engine Works v. Parkinson, 161 Fed. 223; Ware v. Hamilton Brown Shoe Co., 92 Ala. 145, 9 So. 136; Cook v. Rome Brick Co., 98 Ala. 409, 12 So. 918; Gunn v. White Sewing Mach. Co., 57 Ark. 24, 20 S. W. 591, 18 L. R. A. 206, 38 Am. St. Rep. 223; Kindel v. Beck, etc., Lithographing Co., 19 Colo. 310, 35 Pac. 538, 24 L. R. A. 311; Belle City Mfg. Co. v. Frizseli, 11 Idaho, 1, 81 Pac. 58; Ware Cattle Co. v. Anderson, 107 Iowa, 231, 77 N. W. 1026; Coit v. Sutton, 102 Mich. 324, 60 N. W. 690, 25 L. R. A. 819 (see also Wilcox Cordage, etc., Co. v. Mosher, 114 Mich. 64, 72 N. W. 117); Rock Island Plow Co. v. Peterson, 93 Minn. 356, 101 N. W. 616; Maxwell v. Edens, 65 Mo. App. 439; Henderson Woolen Mills v. Edwards, 84 Mo. App. 448; MoNaugh-ton Co. v. McGirl, 20 Mont. 124, 49 Pac. 651, 38 L. R. A. 367, 63 Am. St. Rep. 610; Zion Co-operative Mercantile AsBn. v. Mayo, 22 Mont. 100, 55 Pac. 915; People v. Wemple, 131
N. Y. 64, 29 N. E. 1002, 27 Am. St. Rep. 542; Wrought Iron Range Co. p. Campen, 135 N. C. 506, 47 S. E. 658; Toledo Commercial Co. v. Glen Mfg. Co., 55 Ohio St. 217, 45 N. £. 197; Mearshon v. Pottsville Lumber Co., 187 Pa. St. 12, 40 AtL 1019, 67 Am. St. Rep. 560; Wolff Dryer Co. v. Bigler, 192 Pa. St. 466, 43 AtL 1092. But see Elliott v. Parlin, 71 Kans. 665, where the court relying on Pennsylvania Lumbernen's Ins. Co. p. Meyer, 197 U. S. 407, 49 L. Ed. 810, 25 S. Ct. 483, apparently failed to notice that a State Legislature cannot impose the same restrictions on the sale of goods within its borders by ritisens of other States that it can in regard to insurance contracts and other business which does not fall within the designation of interstate commerce. As Alaska is a territory and subject to federal law, a Congressional enactment making certain conditions for the right of a foreign corporation to do business within the territory is applicable though the only business transacted is interstate commerce. Van Schuyver Co. v. Breedman, 5 Alaska, 260.
19 McNaughten v. McGirl, 20 Mont. 124, 49 Pac. 651, 38 L. R. A. 367, 63 Am. St. Rep. 610.
19a International Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U. S. 579, 34 S. Ct. 944, 58 L. Ed. 1479.
It is beyond the power of a State to prohibit a foreign corporation which is a regular means of interstate commerce (as a telegraph company) from carrying on such commerce within its borders, even for non-payment of legitimate taxes.20 Nor can a State impose a tax on any foreign corporation which operates as a direct burden on interstate commerce;21 nor can such a corporation be prohibited from maintaining an action in the Federal courts; 22 nor required to file statements of its condition as a preliminary to purely interstate business. 22a