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Juul Labs, Inc. v. The Unincorporated Associations Identified in Schedule A

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

December 17, 2018

Juul Labs, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
The Unincorporated Associations Identified in Schedule A, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Liam O'Grady, Virginia United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) (Dkt. 10). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Plaintiff alleges that Defendants "are knowingly and intentionally promoting, advertising, marketing, retailing, offering for sale, distributing, and selling counterfeit products bearing the famous and distinctive [Juul] Trademarks." Defendants are unknown individuals identified in Schedule A (Dkt. 8) by their eBay or AliExpress seller ID or store name.

         Plaintiff requests that the Court issue a temporary restraining order freezing the assets of each of the Defendants' PayPal or Alipay accounts. The lack of identification for the Defendants and the need to prevent Defendants from removing their assets beyond the jurisdiction of the Court necessitated Plaintiff's ex parte motion.

         For the reasons that follow and for good cause shown, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs motion. A separate order will issue.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         A grant of temporary injunctive relief requires the movant to establish four factors: (1) the likelihood of irreparable harm to the plaintiff if the TRO is denied; (2) the likelihood of harm to the defendants if the TRO is granted; (3) the likelihood that the plaintiff will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest. Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff has established that all four Winter factors favor granting the TRO.

         A. Likelihood of Irreparable Harm

          In a trademark case in which the likelihood of success is clearly established, irreparable harm follows as a matter of course. See Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of Virginia, Inc., 43 F.3d 922, 939 (4th Cir. 1995) ("[W]e recognize that irreparable injury regularly follows from trademark infringement."). As is explained below, there is a strong likelihood that Plaintiff will succeed on the merits. In addition, Plaintiff would be irreparably harmed absent a TRO because Defendants would have the incentive and capacity to transfer their assets from any accounts within the United States, depriving Plaintiff of the ability to obtain monetary relief. This factor therefore favors granting the TRO.

         B. Harm to Defendants

         Defendants are unlikely to suffer any cognizable harm from the TRO as they would merely be prevented from profiting from past infringement and moving their funds beyond the reach of the Court. Cf Toolchex, Inc. v. Trainor, 634 F.Supp.2d 586, 593 (E.D. Va. 2008) (holding that any harm a defendant would suffer by being prevented from deliberately infringing a plaintiffs trademark does not alter the balance of hardship analysis). This factor thus favors granting the TRO.

         C. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

         Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of all four of its claims: (a) trademark counterfeiting, (b) trademark infringement, (c) ...


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