USWAY Corp. v. Wardzala, No. 11 cv 7023, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 18, 2012) (Aspen, Sen. J.).
Judge Holderman denied defendants’ motion to stay plaintiffs’ (collectively "USWAY") trademark and copyright case involving its USWAY mark based upon the Colorado-River abstention doctrine. The Court did not have to address the ten-factor test because, as a threshold matter, the parties state and federal cases were not parallel, as required by the doctrine. The federal action — based upon USWAY’s alleged intellectual property — was unrelated to defendants’ state court suit focusing on allegations of unpaid loans, unissued shares and deceptive business practices. And as a result, the evidence required for the two cases was completely different. The state court case would turn on loan documents, billing records, proof of product defects and the written communications between the parties. The federal case turned upon evidence about the actions of each of the nine defendants related to their respective use of the marks. Finally, the cases were unrelated even though the state case could have a negative impact upon the federal case. A finding in defendants’ favor in their state court case could result in defendants being held to own USWAY’s intellectual property. But hypothetical outcomes could not be the basis of abstention.