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Art Ask Agency v. Individuals

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

March 18, 2020, Decided; March 18, 2020, Filed

Case No. 20-cv-1666

Opinion

ORDER

This case involves counterfeit unicorn drawings. The complaint includes a few examples of products that allegedly infringe Plaintiff's trademarks, which offer "striking designs and lifelike portrayals of fantasy subjects." See Cplt. at ¶ 7 (Dckt. No. 1). One example is a puzzle of an elf-like creature embracing the head of a unicorn on a beach. Id. at p.4. Another is a hand purse with a large purple heart, filled with the interlocking heads of two amorous-looking unicorns. Id. There are phone cases featuring elves and unicorns, and a unicorn running beneath a castle lit by a full moon. Id.

Meanwhile, the world is in the midst of a global pandemic. The President has declared a national emergency. The Governor has issued a state-wide health emergency. As things stand, the government has forced all restaurants and bars in Chicago to shut their doors, and the schools are closed, too. The government has encouraged everyone to stay home, to keep infections to a minimum and help [*2]  contain the fast-developing public health emergency.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois took action last week to protect the public, issuing General Order No. 20-0012 entitled IN RE: CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 PUBLIC EMERGENCY. See www.ilnd.uscourts.gov (last visited March 16, 2020) (bold and all caps in original). On March 16, the Executive Committee issued an amended Order that, among other things, holds all civil litigation in abeyance. Id.

Last week, Plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (Dckt. No. 11) against the Defendants (who are located abroad) and requested a hearing. See Dckt. No. 1, at ¶ 12. This Court thought that it was a bad time to hold a hearing on the motion. So, this Court moved the hearing by a few weeks to protect the health and safety of our community, including counsel and this Court's staff. See Dckt. No. 19. Waiting a few weeks seemed prudent.

Plaintiff has not demonstrated that it will suffer an irreparable injury from waiting a few weeks. At worst, Defendants might sell a few more counterfeit products in the meantime. But Plaintiff makes no showing about the anticipated loss of sales. One wonders if the fake [*3]  fantasy products are experiencing brisk sales at the moment.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49954 *

ART ASK AGENCY, Plaintiff, v. THE INDIVIDUALS, CORPORATIONS, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES, PARTNERSHIPS AND UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATIONS IDENTIFIED ON SCHEDULE A HERETO, Defendants.

CORE TERMS

emergency, unicorn, resources, products, temporary restraining order, reconsideration motion, innocent third party, irreparable injury, scheduling order, hold a hearing, last week, CORONAVIRUS, counterfeit, designated, telephonic, infringe, pandemic, uscourts, Waiting, consume, fantasy, motions, visited, elves, midst, sales, staff, ilnd, shut