Venus Labs., Inc. d/b/a Earth Friendly Prods. v. Vlahakis, No. 15 C 1617, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 5, 2015) (Blakey, J.).

Judge Blakey granted plaintiff Venus Laboratories d/b/a Earth Friendly Products’ (“EFP”) motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and continued EFP’s request for a preliminary injunction (“PI”) in this Lanham Act dispute regarding the EARTHY trademark used in connection with cleaning products.  The parties dispute ownership of the trademark and the product line.  Individual defendant was employed by EFP and claims that he developed the mark and the products outside of his employment. The Court held as follows:

  • EFP was likely to succeed on its trademark ownership claim. EFP presented evidence of continuing sales beginning in 2013. Defendants evidence was less compelling and did not show any sales or other contract or agreement.
  • EFP was likely to succeed in showing a likelihood of confusion. The marks were identical, as were the products they were associated with. Additionally, the uses were intended to be concurrent and in the same region. There was also evidence of actual confusion.
  • The parties agreed that irreparable harm and lack of adequate remedies at law were presumed in trademark cases. And defendants did not present evidence that overcame the presumption.
  • The balance of the harms weighs in EFPs favor, in part because defendants were just beginning to attempt selling product.
  • The public had an interest in avoiding the likely confusion that would result from defendants’ continued activities.

Having granted a TRO, the Court ordered EFP to obtain a $50,000 bond, which reflected defendants’ potential lost sales and opportunities for the duration of the TRO.