Peerless Indus., Inc. v. Crimson AV, LLC, No. 11 C 1768, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 10, 2011) (Lefkow, J.).
Judge Lefkow denied plaintiff Peerless’ motion for a preliminary injunction in this patent and tortious interference case involving audio-visual mount equipment. Peerless had a manufacturing agreement with Sycamore Manufacturing ("Sycamore") which was terminated no later than March 2010. The agreement included a non-compete clause that prevented Sycamore from selling the products it made for Peerless or any similar products, with a very broad definition of similarity. After the March 2010 termination and before the end of the non-compete term, in March 2011, Sycamore began selling similar products to defendant Crimson. The Court held that Peerless had "negligible" likelihood of success because the non-compete clause was likely unenforceable because it was broader than necessary to protect Peerless’ interests. The scope of similar products was far too broad. The scope should have been limited to substantially similar products. Additionally, the definition of similar products was "unworkably difficult to determine."
Peerless also could not show irreparable harm. As an initial matter, the non-compete term had ended before the date this Opinion issued. An injunction barring Crimson from selling product the agreement now allowed it to sell would have improperly extended the term of the non-compete. Additionally, because the alleged unauthorized sales were complete, the damages were readily quantifiable.