Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The appellate court reviews a district court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction for abuse of discretion. When considering a motion for a preliminary injunction, the district court should consider four factors: (1) whether the movant has a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant would suffer irreparable injury without the injunction; (3) whether issuance of the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest would be served by issuance of the injunction. The district court's determination will be disturbed only if the district court relied upon clearly erroneous findings of fact, improperly applied the governing law, or used an erroneous legal standard.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., ("the Museum") filed suit against Charles Gentile and Gentile Productions (“Gentile”), alleging various trademark and unfair-competition claims under state and federal law. The Museum moved for and were granted a preliminary injunction, on the authority of Fed. R. Civ. P. 65. The defendants appeal, claiming, essentially, that the district court mistakenly concluded that the plaintiffs have shown a strong likelihood of succeeding on the merits.
Did the district court err in determining that the Museum had shown a strong likelihood of proving their trademark infringement claims?
The court held that the district court failed to properly consider the validity of the Museum’s claim to trademark rights in the building design. In light of the Museum’s irregular use of its building design and the absence of any evidence showing public recognition of the building's design as a trademark, the court considered it unlikely that the Museum would prevail on their trademark infringement claims. The court could not be certain that the district court properly assessed Gentile’s fair use defense in relation to his use of the Museum’s registered service mark, that is, the name of the museum. Thus, the court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in determining that the Museum had shown a strong likelihood of proving their trademark infringement claims.