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Adidas, Reebok Get TRO, Domain Names Locked

Friday, April 19, 2013

Widespread online sales of bogus apparel that was nearly identical to the genuine item offered by Adidas AG and Reebok International Ltd. entitled the two companies to broad ex parte temporary restraining order relief including transfer and redirection of the offending website domain names, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled April 16 (Adidas AG v., S.D. Fla., No. 1:13-cv-21230-CMA, 4/16/13).

Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga said that the plaintiffs sufficiently met the four-part test for ex parte relief from the defendants' alleged trademark counterfeiting and infringement carried off through a passel of fully interactive websites the plaintiffs identified.

To begin with, the court said, the plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits, including that the websites in issue were registered in bad faith to exploit the plaintiffs' trademarks, as required under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d).

In addition, the plaintiffs showed a likelihood of irreparable injury to their reputations as consumers would be very likely to think the inferior counterfeit products came from them, the court said.

It also found that the balance of hardships between the parties favored the plaintiffs because the defendants had no legal right to use the plaintiffs' marks on their websites. And finally, the court said, the public interest would be served by restraining misleading websites selling counterfeit products.

The court issued a TRO and ordered the offending websites locked and redirected to a new URL containing notice of the complaint and TRO. It also authorized the plaintiffs to use Google tools to cancel any redirection of these websites to a new website by defendants. The court set a hearing for April 24.

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