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Judge Sue L. Robinson: No Preliminary Injunction Despite Head to Head Competition

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC continues to make it difficult to obtain injunctive relief. Judge Robinson, in Wellman, Inc. v. Eastman Chemical Co. , found that even if plaintiff had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits (which they did not), the court would not find irreparable harm. C.A. No. 07-585-SLR, Memo. Order (D. Del. Oct. 3, 2008). Wellman and Eastman were direct head to head competitors and plaintiff argued that one of the factors that forced it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was the defendant’s infringement of their patent. The court agreed that that plaintiff was “suffering financially” and the parties were direct competitors but stated that plaintiff did not dispute that the patented product only accounted for a small percentage of their business and they did not demonstrate that the loss of business was directly related to sales of the patented technology. The Court denied the motion for preliminary injunction finding that money damages would be a sufficient remedy. Id. at 5-6.

Wellman, Inc. v. Eastman Chemical Co. , C.A. No. 07-585-SLR, Memo. Order (D. Del. Oct. 3, 2008).

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