Default Leads to Broad Injunction Against Infringement
On March 8, 2016, Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak recommended to grant in part plaintiff JAB Distributors, LLC's ("JAB's") motion for a default judgment against defendant Home Linen Collections ("HLC").
JAB filed its complaint against HLC on November 21, 2014, alleging, among other things, that HLC had infringed its patents relating to zipper closure systems useful for preventing bed bugs from escaping a mattress ("the Patents-in-suit").
HLC never responded and on April 17, 2015, the Court granted JAB's request for the entry of a certificate of default which was followed up by a motion for a default judgment seeking, with respect to JAB's patent claims, an injunction that would proscribe HLC from marketing any of the infringing products.
Characterizing a default judgement as an "extreme remedy" and a "last resort," the Court held that it was nevertheless appropriate here. When a defendant is held in default, it is "deemed to have admitted" the allegations made by the plaintiff, with "all reasonable inferences" drawn in the plaintiff's favor. Here, JAB had alleged that it validly held the Patents-in-suit; that HLC manufactured and marketed products which directly infringe their claims; and that such infringement was willful. Accordingly the Court recommended that HLC be held liable for direct, willful infringement of the Patents-in-suit.
Magistrate Judge Pollak then turned to JAB's request for an injunction. Under eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC, 547 U.S. 488, 391 (2006), the Court analyzed the four factors necessary to enter an injunction: (1) irreparable harm; (2) the inadequacy of remedies available at law; (3) the balance of hardships; and (4) the weighing of the public interest.
On irreparable harm, the Court said that "a showing of infringement of a valid patent creates a presumption of irreparable harm," and since HLC had not rebutted this presumption by virtue of its default, "the Court presumes that JAB will suffer irreparable harm." The Court held that remedies at law were inadequate, as the defendant had presented no evidence that it would cease its infringing activities "simply because an award of damages is ordered." On balance of hardships, the Court said that "HLC has failed to appear to assert any hardships it would suffer should an injunction issue," which, balanced with JAB's affirmative allegations, weighed in favor of JAB. Finally, on the public interest, the Court found that the public interest would be served by entry of an injunction due to the "strong public policy interest in protecting intellectual property rights."
Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Pollak recommended that that the Court grant the default judgment and issued a broad injunction "barring HLC from producing or marketing any of its products in a way that infringes on JAB's protected patents . . ." (emphasis added).
-By Ryan Mott and Lewis Popovski
Case: JAB Distribs., LLC v. Home Linen Collections, No. 14 Civ. 6859 (MKB) (CLP) (E.D.N.Y. March 8, 2016). The patents-in-suit are: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,552,489 and 8,528,134.