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Lakeview Cheese Company, LLC v. Nelson-Ricks Creamery Co.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

February 12, 2014

LAKEVIEW CHEESE COMPANY, LLC, a Nevada corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
NELSON-RICKS CREAMERY COMPANY, a Utah corporation; NELSON-RICKS CHEESE COMPANY, INC., an Idaho corporation; and GREENBERG CHEESE COMPANY, a California corporation, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Lakeview Cheese Company, LLC moves for a preliminary injunction against two defendants - Greenberg Cheese Company and Nelson-Ricks Cheese Company.[1] See Dkt. 27. These defendants do not oppose Lakeview's motion, but they say that the terms of any injunction must precisely mirror the language used in Lakeview's motion, without regard to the more precise language Lakeview used in its supporting memorandum of points and authorities. See Non-Opposition, Dkt. 33. The Court is unpersuaded. For the reasons explained below, the Court will enjoin Greenberg and Nelson-Ricks from selling cheese products under the BANQUET trademark. The precise terms of the injunction are set out below.

FACTS[2]

In November 2012, Lakeview purchased assets from Nelson-Ricks Creamery Company, including the right to use the BANQUET trademark. The BANQUET mark is a well-known mark used in connection with cheese products. After purchasing these assets, Lakeview discovered that defendant Greenberg Cheese Company, operating as Nelson-Ricks Cheese or Greenberg Cheese, was using the BANQUET mark on its cheese products.

When Lakeview's counsel confronted these defendants, they agreed to stop using the mark if Lakeview would refrain from seeking injunctive relief from a Court. The terms of the parties' agreement were memorialized as follows:

2. Greenberg Cheese and Nelson Ricks Cheese agree to immediately stop selling BANQUET labeled cheese.
3. Based on your agreement to #2, Lakeview will not pursue a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction with the Court in Idaho.
4. I [Lakeview's counsel] will send you a proposed agreement to settle this matter...

Aug. 26, 2013 email, Ex. A to Jackson Dec., Dkt. 13-1, at 1. After this agreement was reached, a dispute erupted about whether Greenberg and Nelson-Ricks needed to do anything else to accomplish a broader settlement of the parties' dispute. The defendants said that since they had agreed to stop selling BANQUET-marked cheese, the entire dispute was over. Lakeview disagreed, saying that the parties' agreement was simply to forestall injunctive relief and that other terms remained to accomplish a full settlement. Specifically, Lakeview contended that Greenberg and Nelson-Ricks not only needed to stop selling BANQUET-marked cheese, but that there had to be some settlement relating to the damages Lakeview had already sustained by their past use of the BANQUET mark. The parties made some headway on this issue, but settlement discussions stalled in October 2013. Additionally, Lakeview says Greenberg and Nelson-Ricks have continued to sell BANQUET-marked cheese. See Mot. Mem., Dkt. 27-1, ΒΆ 20.

THE LEGAL STANDARD

A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that: 1) it is likely to succeed on the merits; 2) it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; 3) the balance of equities tips in its favor; and 4) an injunction is in the public interest. See Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). A preliminary injunction is "an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Id. at 24. "In each case, courts must balance the competing claims of injury and must consider the effect on each party of the granting or withholding of the requested relief.'" Id. (citation omitted).

ANALYSIS

1. Defendants Concede that Injunctive ...


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