If another company is infringing on your trademark, you can’t afford to wait around for a trial. Your brand or product is being associated with another company in the minds of your customers. If another company is has unfairly stolen your trade secret, your secret may be in jeopardy. Once a secret goes public, it’s no longer a secret. You can’t un-ring a bell, so to speak. Some harms are irreparable. Some harms can be redressed with an apology and financial compensation after the fact.
There are situations where you need action now, instead of an apology later.
Long before your case goes to trial, our litigation lawyers in New York can achieve relief in terms of a preliminary injunction. This is a court order that forces the other party to do or not to do something – to stop using your trademark, or to keep your secret a secret, for example.
A preliminary injunction is similar to the temporary restraining order (TRO). The main difference is a TRO can be requested and granted by one party, without notice to the other party. The TRO is just that – temporary – usually only lasting until a hearing for a preliminary injunction can be scheduled. A permanent injunction may follow a preliminary injunction upon final resolution of the case.
The hearing for a preliminary injunction will require the presence of both parties in court. While a TRO may last for only days, the preliminary injunction can last substantially longer, through all the preparation period for the litigation until the final disposition of the case.
Preliminary injunctions are powerful, and therefore the court is reluctant to grant one but in the most serious cases. You need an attorney who knows the right factors that will persuade the court. For example, the court will typically consider these factors: 1) balance of hardships – would the issuing or failure to issue the injunction cause unbalanced hardship to the parties; 2) inadequate remedy at law – can the issue be cured by financial compensation later; 3) likelihood of success on the merits – does the party requesting the injunction have a good chance of ultimately winning the case; 4) public policy – how will the injunction affect the general public; and 5) irreparable harm – would failing to grand the injunction cause irreparable harm.
Enforcing Preliminary Injunctions
What if the other party decides to ignore the injunction? Court orders are enforced by the contempt power of the court. If the other party violates the order, they will need to “show cause” to explain the violation. The judge will then have the discretion to fine the party, or even through them in jail without a trial. The contempt power of the court is very serious.
If you have a situation such infringement of your intellectual property, or you’re the victim of unfair business practices, you may need a TRO and a preliminary injunction to save your business. Our business law attorneys can take immediate action to help you out.