MicroStrategy v. Motorola

245 F.3d 335 (4th Cir. 2001)



An appellate court reviews the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction for abuse of discretion, recognizing that preliminary injunctions are extraordinary remedies involving the exercise of very far-reaching power to be granted only sparingly and in limited circumstances. 


Appellee Motorola decided on the use of a certain phrase as a trademark. Appellant, a producer of communication software, claimed that it had been using the phrase before appellant, and that appellee's use of the phrase constituted unlawful trademark infringement. On review of the denial of appellant's motion for a preliminary injunction, the circuit court found that appellee had offered evidence detailing the particulars of the harm it would suffer if a preliminary injunction was granted, including negative impact to key business ventures and customers. 


Did the lower court err in denying appellant’s motion for preliminary injunction?




Appellant failed to show that it had a valid and protectable mark, since appellant (1) failed to demonstrate that it had likely used the trademark to identify and distinguish itself as the source of its goods or services; (2) did not use a method that made the purported trademark's nature and function readily apparent without extended analysis; and (3) only presented limited, sporadic, and inconsistent use of the purported trademark.

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