Conair Corp. v. Le Angelique

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents, Temporary Restraining Orders for Patent Infringement
  • Date Filed: 09-15-2014
  • Case #: 2:14-CV-01149-RCJ-PAL
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the District of Nevada
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128758
  • Westlaw Citation: Not yet available
  • Full Text Opinion

When a patent holder can show that there is likely an irreparable harm sustained by the patent holder by applying the ordinary observer test, then a temporary restraining order may be granted by the Court.

Opinion (Jones): Plaintiff Conair Corporation and Defendant Le Angelique, Inc. are companies that design and manufacture hair styling tools. Conair alleged that Le Angelique infringed upon its design patent by producing, marketing, and retailing curling irons that resemble curling tools sold by Conair. Conair sought to obtain a temporary restraining order against Le Angelique to prevent further sales of the products. In order to obtain a temporary restraining order against Le Angelique, Conair had to show that Le Angelique infringed upon its design patents. In order to grant the temporary restraining order, which works like a preliminary injunction, Conair must show that irreparable harm is not only possible, but likely. In order to show that Conair is likely to succeed on the merits, the Court applied the "ordinary observer test" to determine whether or not Le Angelique infringed upon Conair’s patent. The ordinary observer test states, “[I]f, in the eye of an ordinary observer, giving such attention as a purchaser usually gives, two designs are substantially the same, if the resemblance is such as to deceive such an observer, inducing him to purchase one supposing it to be the other, the first one patented is infringed by the other.” To apply this test, “patent drawings are compared to images of the accused design.” In this case, The Court ruled that Conair would likely succeed with regard to their design infringement claim because the ornamental designs of the products “are similar enough to cause a reasonable probability of confusing an ordinary observer in the marketplace.” Motion for temporary restraining order by Plaintiffs enjoining Defendants was GRANTED.

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