Fifth Circuit Addresses Interplay Between Laches and Injunctive Relief in Trademark Infringement Cases
February 7, 2013 in Case Summaries
Jeff Levinger represented Paddle Tramps Manufacturing, a leading nationwide producer of fraternity and sorority items, in a trademark infringement case addressing the interplay between the equitable defense of laches and the availability of permanent injunctive relief in a trademark infringement case. Working with trademark lawyers Molly Richard and Elizann Carroll, Levinger helped them persuade a Dallas federal court jury that Paddle Tramps’ opponents, 32 of the country’s largest fraternity and sorority organizations, were guilty of laches by waiting over 40 years to enforce their rights to their trademarks. Based on this finding, the federal district judge denied the Greek Organizations’ request for damages and broad injunctive relief against Paddle Tramps, instead limiting Paddle Tramps’ ability to use the marks on certain advertising and products going forward. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit rejected the Greek Organizations’ challenges to the jury instructions and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the jury’s verdict. But the Court also upheld the injunction against Paddle Tramps on the ground that its overall business would not be substantially prejudiced. Kenneth Abraham, d/b/a Paddle Tramps Manufacturing Co. v. Alpha Chi Omega, et al., 708 F.3d 614 (5th Cir. 2013).
Courts: Federal Courts of Appeals
Subject Matter: Intellectual Property