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Intellectual property (IP) infringement is an ever present issue for businesses of all sizes. One way to combat the malicious efforts of intellectual property infringers is to file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). This will ensure that you can block or freeze the activities of infringers and protect the value of your brand’s IP.
In this blog we’ll be exploring how to file a temporary restraining order to protect your intellectual property by highlighting a number of topics, including:
A Temporary Restraining Order is a legal order and document that is issued by a court to either prevent or force an action for a determined amount of time. An individual or business may seek a TRO for a variety of reasons. For example, a TRO is a suitable tool when dealing with intellectual property infringement because it legally prevents the infringing party from continuing their action. A TRO also serves as an indication of your intention to defend your IP and a desire to pursue the infringers via legal action.
Before you delve into the world of Temporary Restraining Orders it is important to understand the kinds of intellectual property they can protect and how intellectual property infringement functions in a legal context.
The main types of intellectual property rights include copyrights, trade marks, trade secrets and patents. All of these intellectual property types represent valuable assets for companies, businesses and individuals. Registering your intellectual property rights is the best way to protect them.
However, bad actors will still attack your brand, misuse your content and devalue these rights. The best way to restrict the ability of digital pirates to infringe your intellectual property rights is to file for a Temporary Restraining Order. If you understand the various kinds of intellectual property infringement that can occur then you will give yourself the best chance of spotting the infringement and acting to defend your rights.
Preparation is key to the successful use of most legal tools. This especially true for Temporary Restraining Orders which must be specific, supported by evidence and filed and served appropriately.
Firstly, you should focus on gathering evidence. You must collect any information you believe might be relevant to your case. Even if the evidence is not pertinent right now it might be valuable further down the line. So, if you want to establish solid grounds for a Temporary Restraining Order, document every potential infringement in detail.
Gathering quality evidence requires you to be both precise and thorough. You need to be able to outline to a judge why the restraining order is necessary and why your business will suffer immediate irreparable injury unless the order is issued.
Secondly, you should seek legal assistance. Only legal experts will know how to properly draft a restraining order that has the potential to convince a judge and effectively restrain the potential infringer from damaging your business. Nevertheless, before you acquire legal help it is important to consider the strength of your argument, the type of consequences your business will suffer if the alleged infringement continues and the nature of the restraint you want.
Lastly, as well as being well-written you must ensure that your drafted TRO is timely. A TRO is, after all, an emergency request that is time sensitive. If you spend too long on the drafting process you risk incurring further damage to your IP and missing your opportunity to restrain the alleged infringer.
A TRO is usually limited to the district in which it is issued. However, it may extend beyond the district or state if the court has personal jurisdiction or if there is statutory authority. For trademark infringement, copyright infringement and patent infringement cases there is statutory authority for restraining orders to extend beyond district and state boundaries.
Given the digital nature of many of the potential IP infringements this wide jurisdiction makes sense. It allows you to file for a TRO in your local district court but ensures you can restrict infringers wherever they may be hiding. To file a TRO you will usually have to pay a filing fee. The cost of filing will depend on the state in which it is filed.
The TRO is usually served by a U.S. Marshal or another law enforcement officer specifically appointed by the court. Service is accomplished by serving the alleged infringing party in person. If the party served then fails to abide by the order, you or the court may pursue legal action against them.
If you successfully draft and file your TRO, and it is granted and served on the offending party, then you should be well on your way to protecting your intellectual property. After your TRO is granted there are still some steps you can take to ensure that the order is complied with and that your brand’s IP is safeguarded.
Firstly you should monitor the infringing party to some extent to see whether they are complying with the order. Some parties may respect the order and follow the requirements. The more persistent scammers and bad actors may ignore the order and continue their infringing activity.
However, they are unlikely to get away with it. There are consequences for violating a TRO. At that point you or the court may choose to pursue the offending party with legal action. For example, you could seek a permanent restraining order or you could sue them in civil court for infringement of your copyrights, trademarks or patents.
Red Points’ Revenue Recovery Program will help you successfully file TROs against infringers without paying filing fees. Our program functions on a contingency basis, this means that you are never liable for any fees, regardless of the outcome. By taking this approach, we and our trusted legal partners will only receive a percentage of the awarded damages in the case of a successful recovery.
Our legal partners will establish jurisdiction over potential infringers by showing the court that they are targeting sellers in the US. Then they will apply for a TRO on your behalf. Within the TRO they will ask the judge to freeze the accounts of the offenders and have the infringing content taken down.
Once the TRO is granted our legal partners will then serve the order on the platforms where the infringers are operating. The platforms will follow the order ensuring that your intellectual property is no longer being violated.
The TRO will also usually contain a request for expedited discovery, enabling our legal partners to learn as much as possible about the infringing party. This allows you to pursue their assets, restricting their ability to continue their unlawful operations and improving the likelihood that you will recover any revenue lost to them. Indeed, on average our clients are recovering $150,000 to $300,000 per case.
A Temporary Restraining Order could be the difference between success and failure for any developing business. If you allow bad actors to steal and misuse your intellectual property you are setting yourself up for disaster. To ensure that your brand and your customers are safe, you have to be proactive and start thinking about filing a Temporary Restraining Order.
Red Points is also here to help. Through our Revenue Recovery Program we will gather valuable evidence to pass on to our legal partners who will then begin the process of defending your brand and getting you compensated. Ultimately, we will put you in the best possible position to succeed in filing a TRO and recovering your revenue. To learn more about how Red Points can help you protect your intellectual property and recover revenue, request a demo here.