In the business world, there are few things more upsetting than finding out that somebody else is illegitimately and unfairly profiting from your hard work. That is exactly what happens when your intellectual property is used or shared. Beyond being stressful, the situation can quickly become emergent, as it can lead to a revenue loss for you and a competitive edge for the perpetrator. Immediate legal action is required, and the first step is to file for a temporary restraining order.
Businesses seek temporary restraining orders (TRO) to prevent former employees, partners, or competitors from pursuing unfair business practices such as infringing on their patent, copyright, or trademark, or from sharing and/or profiting from their trade secrets. A TRO is an emergency action that provides temporary relief. Though it does not provide a judgment as to which party is right or wrong, it effectively stops the offending party from continuing their actions for a specified period of time. A temporary restraining order usually precedes a preliminary injunction, which is generally requested at the same time that an initial complaint is filed.
To have a temporary restraining order approved, the courts determine whether the requirements of a four-factor test can be met, with special emphasis on the two that are considered most critical.
- The plaintiff needs to prove that they will be able to win on the merits. This is interpreted as their chance of prevailing being better than negligible but not necessarily more likely than not.
- The plaintiff needs to prove that it is more likely than not that they will suffer irreparable harm unless the temporary restraining order is issued.
Once these two points have been satisfied the court will consider the third and fourth factors:
- Whether there is a potential for harm to others if the restraining order is issued
- Whether the public interest favors the relief provided by the restraining order
Though every case is different, when presented with a well-crafted petition for relief the courts are likely to respond positively and to stop the offending actions that threaten your business. From that point you can move forward with more detailed preparations and litigation.
For assistance in addressing infringement of your intellectual property, contact our experienced business litigation firm today.