If you’ve been the victim of trademark, patent, or copyright infringement, or if somebody is using your trade secrets or violating a noncompete clause, you need to move quickly — when somebody is wrongfully using your intellectual property or inappropriately representing your brand, you run a very real risk of damages that could grow every day. Whether you think the problem can be resolved through mediation and negotiation or if you’re headed to litigation, you need to stop the bleeding fast. A temporary restraining order can help, but it’s just a stopgap. What you really need is a preliminary injunction.

Unlike a lot of other civil litigation, issues of infringement can’t wait until you get into court to be resolved. The more time goes by, the more damage is done, so you need a way to put an immediate end to the wrongful activity. Both temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions can do that, but they have a very different impact.

Obtaining either a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction requires you to demonstrate that you’ll suffer irreparable harm without one, that the harm that you’ll suffer by letting the defendant’s action continue is greater than that caused by stopping their actions, and that you’re likely to win the eventual case on the merits. The big difference between the two is in how long they are enforceable and who knows about them being put in place.

A temporary restraining order can be issued without the defendant being at the hearing or given notice. It can be granted based on affidavits or other evidence showing immediate and irreparable damages which are submitted to the court. A temporary restraining order is meant to be a short-term answer put in place until a preliminary or permanent injunction can be put in place. In many cases they only last ten days if no other legal action is taken.

By contrast, the opposing party must receive notice about hearings involving preliminary injunctions, and those injunctions stay in place until there is a final legal outcome.

When facing potential losses from another’s wrongful use of your intellectual property, there is a need for both immediate action and action that will protect you in the long term. For legal guidance about the best way to take action, contact our office today to set up a time for us to meet.