The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles Have Filed Joint Trademark Lawsuit
Prior to taking the field as opponents in Super Bowl LII, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles have teamed up in the courtroom. According to reporting from Courthouse News Service, the two NFL franchises have joined with the NFL’s League Office in order to file a collective trademark lawsuit against an alleged counterfeiting operation. The trademark claim was filed in Hennepin, County, Minnesota, where the 2018 Super Bowl will be played.
The NFL Teams are Targeting ‘Professional’ Counterfeiters
According to the complaint filed by the two NFL teams and the league office, the NFL is worried about trademark infringement from large-scale, professional counterfeiting operations. Not only is the NFL seeking to restraining order against the counterfeiters, but the teams are also requesting that a judge grant power to local police officers to seize counterfeit merchandise. This legal tool, known as an ex parte seizure, is one the NFL has used before. In fact, when the last Super Bowl was played in Minnesota in 1992, a judge granted local law enforcement officers the ability to seize counterfeit merchandise.
Ex Parte Seizures and Counterfeiting
Trademark holders have many different legal tools available to protect their brand against unlawful infringement and dilution. Though, perhaps no tool is more powerful than an ex parte court order, which allows for the immediate seizure of counterfeit items. As stated by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the ability to seek an ex parte seizure is critically important for victims of counterfeiting, as otherwise it would be nearly impossible to obtain the evidence needed to take action against a counterfeiter. Preemptive ex parte seizure orders can be granted when the underlying circumstances warrant such action. Most often, these orders are granted prior to events where counterfeit items are likely to be sold. Large-scale sporting events and concerts are a common example, though they can also be issued before things like trade shows, as well.
Trademark Law: The Limits and Risks of Ex Parte Seizure Orders
It should be noted that ex parte seizures are not available in ordinary trademark infringement cases. Instead, this remedy is only available when alleged counterfeiting in violation of trademark law has occurred. Further, there is some risk to the trademark holder that comes with ex parte seizure. If goods are wrongly seized under this type of order, the trademark holder who sought the order may potentially bear some liability. Specifically, if the ex parte seizure order was sought in bad faith or was used to seize predominantly legitimate merchandise, the trademark holder may face legal action.
Consult With a South Florida Trademark Litigation Lawyer Now
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we are a full-service business law firm with extensive experience handling complex trademark law cases. To learn more about what we can do for you and your business, please contact us today to request a free review of your claim. We serve trademark litigation clients throughout the region, including in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and North Miami Beach.