Aguila Records, Inc. v. Nueva Generacion Music Group, Inc., No. 07 C 3399, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 4, 2009) (Der-Yeghiayan, J.).
Judge Zagel granted in part and denied in part plaintiffs’, collectively "Aguila Records") motion for a preliminary injunction in this trademark and copyright infringement dispute. Aguila Records, a music management and recording agency, was in a dispute with defendants’ musical group Alacranes Musical (“Alacranes”). Based upon that dispute, Aguila Records sought a preliminary injunction preventing defendants’ use of the Alacranes word mark and scorpion logo.
Likelihood of Success
Because the parties agreed that the Alacranes marks were protectable and that there was a likelihood of confusion if two groups used the marks, the only likelihood of success issue was whether Aguila Records owned the marks. The Court held that the proof of ownership was at best "in conflict" and that the agreements were contradictory.
The Court held that a preliminary injunction against performing using the Alacranes Musical mark would irreparably harm defendants who would be forced to negotiate with Aguila Records for rights to use the name or change their name, but it was undisputed that the band’s success was intertwined with its name. Alternatively, if the Court did not grant an injunction defendants would continue performing using the name and would likely continue to grow in popularity and earn additional income, which would be lost to Aguila Records. But that harm would not be irreparable because it could be repaid financially.
While Aguila Records did not demonstrate a strong likelihood of success, it did demonstrate a "greater than negligible chance of winning." The Court, therefore, enjoined defendants from using the marks on compact disks, other recording media and merchandise such as t-shirts and hats, all uses for which Aguila Records had trademark registrations. But the Court did not enjoin the use of the marks for live performances because Aguila Records did not have registered marks for live performances and the balance of harms tipped in defendants’ favor for live performances.