Temporary Restraining Order

Jones Day v. BlockShopper.com, No. 08 C 4572 (N.D. Ill.) (Darrah, J.).
Plaintiff Jones Day sued defendants, BlockShopper.com and two individuals allegedly associated with the website, for allegedly using plaintiff’s service marks and linking to plaintiff’s website in at least two articles that allegedly discuss Chicago real estate transactions of plaintiff’s associates. Plaintiff claims service mark infringement, Lanham Act false designation of origin, Lanham Act dilution, and state law deceptive trade practices and unfair competition – click here for the complaint. Plaintiff also moved for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) – click here for the TRO motion. In addition to the use of its service marks, plaintiff alleged that defendants used pictures of plaintiff’s associates that appear to be identical to pictures on plaintiff’s website.
A January 2007 Chicago Tribune article described defendants’ website as one that provides details surrounding Chicago-area real estate transactions using a Cook County list of home sales and internet research, noting that subjects of some posts do not like the stories:
But BlockShopper goes beyond the basic who-what-and-how-much, revealing tantalizing tidbits such as what the parties do for a living and what the sellers originally paid for the property, plus satellite maps and even photos of the property and the parties.
The TRO hearing was noticed for Tuesday, August 19. I will keep you updated as decisions are issued.

Continue Reading Law Firm Sues BlockShopper.com Seeking Temporary Restraining Order

Little Tikes Co. v. Kid Station Toys, Ltd., No. 08 C 1935, 2008 WL 1805379 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 18, 2008) (Gottschall, J.).
Judge Gottschall denied plaintiff Little Tikes’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) to prevent defendant Kid Station Toys, Ltd. (“Kid Station”) from selling Kid Station electric toys using Little Tikes’ trademarks. From 2003 until February 2008, the parties had a license agreement (“Agreement”) pursuant to which Kid Station sold its electric toys using the Little Tikes trademarks. In February 2008, Little Tikes canceled the Agreement pursuant to a provision allowing it to do so for, among other reasons, unsafe toys. Kids Station allegedly had a toy cellphone recalled because it was a potential choking hazard. Kids Station disputed the validity of the termination and continued selling its toys using the Little Tikes trademarks.
The Court held that Little Tikes had shown sufficient likelihood of success on the merits. Its trademarks ownership was undisputed and its success regarding the validity of its Agreement termination was “better than negligible.” Additionally, in the parties’ Agreement, Kids Station stipulated to Little Tikes’ irreparable harm.
But the Court held that Kid Station would be irreparably harmed by a TRO because it would not be able to meet its customer obligations, which would be a serious blow to its business. And, the Court held that Kid Station’s irreparable harm from a TRO outweighed Little Tikes’ irreparable harm without a TRO. While Kid Station may not be able to recover its customers, Little Tikes had already approved Kid Station’s existing toys and could recover royalties for any sales. The Court, therefore, denied the TRO.

Continue Reading TRO Denied: Defendant’s Harm More Irreparable Than Plaintiff’s

Recycled Paper Greetings, Inc. v. Davis, No. 08 C 236, __ F. Supp.2d __, 2008 WL 282687 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 1, 2008) (Bucklo, J.).
Judge Bucklo denied plaintiff’s, Recycled Paper Greetings (“RPG”), motion for a temporary restraining order in this trade secret misappropriation action. RPG argued that it was either part of a joint venture or, at least, a confidential relationship with defendant Kathy Davis to develop a signature line of greeting cards. RPG contends that Davis took confidential information regarding the greeting card line to a competitor. Davis countered that she had terminated her contract with RPG pursuant to the contract’s termination provision before working with RPG’s competitor and there was, therefore, no breach or misappropriation. At an initial hearing, the Court suggested that live testimony might be required to fully resolve the motion for the TRO. But both parties told the Court that their respective witnesses would not be available during the necessary time frame to testify. Because no witnesses were available, the Court denied the TRO, holding that it lacked sufficient information to determine that RPG maintained its alleged trade secrets with sufficient secrecy or the nature of the relationship between RPG and Davis.
Practice tip: If you are seeking a TRO, line up commitments from your potential witnesses to be available both flexibly and quickly. Not many judges will grant TROs if plaintiff cannot present requested witnesses.

Continue Reading No Temporary Restraining Order Without Live Witnesses

American Fam. Mut. Ins., Co. v. Roth, No. 05 C 3839, 2007 W LL377335 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 16, 2007) (Cole, Mag. J.).
Judge Cole recommended that plaintiff’s motion be granted in part requiring defendants to comply with the Court’s preliminary injunction and holding defendants in contempt for failing to comply with the Counts TRO and PI. The Court first explained that no injunction could be a general prohibition against using trade secrets. Rather, an injunction – whether temporary, preliminary or permanent – must include specific recitals limiting defendants’ actions or requiring that actions be performed. The Court then analyzed whether defendants’ actions or inactions violated specific provisions of the TRO and the PI issued by the Court. The Court reported that defendants had retained possession of plaintiff’s customer list and defendants failed to provide a list of their customer contacts with sufficient detail. The Court, therefore, recommended that defendants be held in contempt for failing to comply with the TRO and the PI.

Continue Reading PI/TRO Governed by Their Terms

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2006 WL 1141635 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 16, 2007) (Coar, J.).

Judge Coar granted plaintiff Abbott’s motion for a preliminary injunction, after having previously denied it a TRO.*  The PI enjoined defendant Sandoz from selling a generic version of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL).  The Court held that Sandoz had shown a substantial likelihood of materiality and Abbott’s intent to deceive the PTO  based upon Abbott’s failure to disclose certain taste perversion data during prosecution.  But because Abbott abandoned the claims to which the taste perversion data was relevant of its own accord, the Court did not find the patent preliminarily unenforceable.  The Court explained its reasoning as follows:

Redemption is one of the core principles of the American ethos.  Thus in addition to being contrary to the spirit of Scribbs, Kimberly-Clark and the Code of Federal Regulation, it seems wholly inequitable to hold a patent to be invalid for fraudulent conduct in the prosecution of a claim that was withdrawn before actual prosecution had even begun.


Continue Reading Preliminary Injunction Granted Despite Likely Inequitable Conduct Because Likely-Tainted Claims Were Voluntarily Withdrawn From Prosecution

American Fam. Mutual Insur. Co. v. Roth, No. 05 C 3839, 2007 WL 63983 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 10, 2007) (Cole, Mag. J.).

Judge Cole recommended denying defendants’ motion to modify Judge Guzman’s preliminary injunction for lack of jurisdiction.  Judge Guzman, following Judge Cole’s recommendation, issued a preliminary injunction to prevent defendants from using a

Abbott Labs. v. Andrx Pharm., Inc., No. 06-1101, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. 2007).

While this is not a Northern District case, it is relevant to the Blog because it is an appeal of a Northern District case and because it confirms Judge Coar’s ruling (discussed here) that a preliminary injunction holding lacked preclusive effect in the related case Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2006 WL 3718025 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 2006).  In this patent dispute plaintiff, Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), alleged that defendant’s, Andrx Pharmacueticals ("Andrx") sale of a generic form of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative) which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL.  The Northern District held that Abbott had established a likelihood of success on the merits of its infringement claim and that Andrx had not established a likelihood that the patent would be held invalid.  As a result of those holdings, the Northern District issued a preliminary injunction.  In its appeal, Andrx argued that Abbott was precluded from obtaining a preliminary injunction because the Federal Circuit overturned a previous Northern District preliminary injunction for Abbott against another generic antibiotic producer Teva Pharmaceuticals ("Teva").  In that case, the Federal Circuit held that Teva raised a substantial question as to the validity of the claims at issue, sufficient to call Abbott’s likelihood of success on the merits into question. 


Continue Reading Federal Circuit Agrees With the Northern District: Preliminary Injunction Holdings Are Not Preclusive

Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2006 WL 3718025 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 2006) (Coar, J.).

Judge Coar denied plaintiff’s, Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") to prevent defendant, Sandoz, Inc. ("Sandoz"), from selling a generic version of Abbott’s patented extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL).  The Court had entered a TRO and, ultimately, a preliminary injunction preventing another party, Teva Pharmaceuticals ("Teva"), from selling a generic version of plaintiff’s patented extended release antibiotic, but the Federal Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction.  The Federal Circuit held that Teva raised a substantial question as to the validity of the claims at issue, sufficient to call Abbott’s likelihood of success on the merits into question. 


Continue Reading Federal Circuit’s Preliminary Injunction Ruling Is Not Preclusive