Geneva Int’l Corp. v. Petrof, Spol, S.R.O., No. 07 C 4214, 2007 WL 4522621 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 14, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).
Judge Moran denied plaintiff Geneva International’s preliminary injunction motion and the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment on Geneva’s anticipatory breach of contract claim.* Geneva signed a variety of agreements with defendant Petrof making Geneva the exclusive U.S. distributor of Petrof’s pianos and the exclusive U.S. licensee of the “Petrof” trademark for use with Petrof’s pianos, through 2012. In 2007, Petrof gave Geneva the required six months notice to terminate the parties’ contract (but not their trademark license agreement which did not have the same termination provisions) and notified Geneva that Petrof planned to start selling its pianos using its trademark in the U.S.
Geneva sough a preliminary injunction to stop Petrof’s U.S. sales because Geneva continued to be the exclusive licensee of the Petrof trademark. But the Court held Geneva would not be irreparably harmed without the preliminary injunction. Geneva’s alleged irreparable harm — lost goodwill of its customers because Geneva would not be Petrof’s exclusive distributor — was caused by the contract, not breach of the trademark license. Petrof’s contract termination meant that Geneva could not be Petrof’s U.S. distributor, exclusive or otherwise. Because the alleged irreparable harm did not stem from the license at issue, the Court denied the injunction.
* Because they are not IP-specific, I will not fully address the contract issues. I will say that the disputes arose from the fact that the three agreements were signed on the same day, but did not all mention each other and had differing integration clauses, some mentioning the other agreements and some not. Practice tip: When drafting parallel agreements, make very clear how the agreements relate or that they do not.