U.S. TRADEMARK LITIGATION PROCESS

美国商标诉讼程序

Litigating a trademark violation case in the United States is a confusing and bewildering process for most defendants. This article explains the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process.

 

First, litigation is the method by which civil disputes are resolved in the U.S. Intellectual property law, including trademarks and copyrights, is primarily controlled by the national government rather than the states. As noted in my previous article, “Jurisdiction for U.S. Trademark Violations,” federal courts have jurisdiction over U.S. trademark violation cases. Federal district court judges are highly qualified individuals who are appointed by the president and confirmed after examination by the U.S. Senate. Federal district court judges are appointed for life and cannot be removed unless convicted of malfeasance after a trial by the U.S. Senate. Federal district court judges and the U.S. federal court system are possessed of great integrity and are the bedrock upon which the stability of American society and government rests.

对于大多数被告来说,解决在美国的商标侵权案件是一个混乱和困惑的过程。本文阐述了美国商标诉讼程序。首先,在美国诉讼是民事纠纷解决的方法。知识产权法,包括商标和版权,主要由联邦政府控制,而不是各州。如我之前的文章 “美国商标侵权管辖权” 所述,,联邦法院对美国商标侵权案件有管辖权。联邦地区法院法官是由总统任命并经美国参议院审查后确认的有资格胜任的个人。联邦地方法院法官被任命为终身法官,除非在美国参议院的审判中被判有不法行为,否则不能被撤销。联邦地方法院法官和美国联邦法院系统具有很强的完整性,是美国社会和政府稳定的基石。

 

The U.S. Trademark Litigation Process begins by the plaintiffs filing of a Complaint with the clerk of the U.S. district court. A Complaint is a document in which the plaintiff describes its basis for jurisdiction before the U.S. district court; the law that has allegedly been violated; the alleged unlawful acts of the defendants and the damages that are requested. In most cases, a document called a “Summons” along with the Complaint must be “served,” placed in the personal possession, of each defendant. The U.S. Trademark Litigation Process varies due to the fact that each case has many defendants, most of whom are overseas or are unknown. Cases are most often filed “under seal,” secretly, out of view of defendants. This requires special permission from the judge. The plaintiffs claim that if the case filings are made freely available from the beginning, the defendants will discover the case and will destroy evidence and/or move funds outside the U.S. so that the plaintiffs are denied a remedy.

美国商标诉讼程序开始于原告向联邦地区法院提交诉状。诉状是一种文件,原告向美国地区法院描述了其管辖权的基础;据称违反的法律;被告的非法行为和要求的损害赔偿。在大多数情况下,一个称为“传票”的文件连同投诉必须“送达”到每个被告手上。美国商标诉讼的程序不同,因为每个案件有许多被告,其中大部分在海外或者未知。案件常常是未公开提交的,被告是看不到的。这需要法官的特别许可。原告声称如果案件从提交开始就可以任意获取,被告将发现案件,将销毁证据和/或转移在美国之外的资产,原告的赔偿就很难拿到了。

 

After the case is filed, the plaintiffs ask the judge for extraordinary relief. In addition to sealing the case, the plaintiffs ask that they be able to provide notice of the lawsuit to the defendants via email instead of by personal service. The plaintiffs reason that while the actual identity and associations of the defendants are unknown or unclear, sellers on web based platforms like eBay or the administrators of websites must have an email address on file and log in to their websites regularly. The judge examines evidence which includes screenshots of the allegedly infringing postings and photographs of the items delivered to the plaintiff’s investigator. Based on this evidence, the judge almost always permits the plaintiff’s to provide notice of the lawsuit to defendants via email and by redirecting websites to a web page that references the lawsuit and includes copies of the complaint and other documents.

案件提交后,原告要求法官给予特别救济。除了密封案件,原告要求他们能够通过电子邮件而不是由个人服务通知被告诉讼。原告的理由是,虽然实际被告的真实身份是未知或不明确的,卖方在基于网络的平台如易趣网或网站管理员必须有一个电子邮件地址用于定期登录到他们的网站。法官审查证据,其中包括涉嫌侵权的产品截图和邮寄给原告调查员的产品照片。基于这一证据,法官几乎总是允许原告通过电子邮件向被告发出诉讼通知,并将网站重定向到引用该诉讼并包括投诉和其他文件副本的网页。

 

The plaintiffs also ask the judge for permission to freeze funds in U.S. based bank and merchant processing accounts. This is extraordinary relief that is uncommon in lawsuits that do not involve international parties and are outside the realm of intellectual property law. Again, plaintiffs argue to the judge that if defendants are notified of the suit, they will remove all funds outside the U.S., denying plaintiffs a remedy.

原告还要求法官允许冻结在美国的银行和商业运作帐户的资金。这是非凡的救济,这是在不涉及国际相关方并在知识产权法领域以外的诉讼中是非常少见的。同样,原告向法官争辩说,如果被告被告知诉讼,他们将转移在美国以外的所有资金,而不给原告赔偿。

 

The legal term for these requests to the court is “Motion.” The requests for service by email, to file under seal and to freeze U.S. based funds are part of a single motion for a “temporary restraining order” or TRO. The order granted is for a limited period of time. The TRO is later converted into a preliminary injunction which keeps the assets frozen for the duration of the litigation. Under this order, defendants are also ordered cease and refrain from violating Plaintiff’s intellectual property. It is important that Defendants contact us quickly if they wish to oppose these motions.

这些向法院提出的请求的法律术语是“动议”。电子邮件服务,密封案件和冻结美国的资金都是一个请求“临时禁令”动议的一部分。批准的命令是在有限的时间内。临时禁令后来会转为资产在诉讼期间被冻结的初步禁令。根据这一命令,被告也被责令停止并避免侵犯原告的知识产权。如果被告想反对这些动议,被告迅速与律师联系非常重要。

 

Both the website and emails inform Defendants that they must file an “Answer” with the court within twenty-one days of receiving the notice. An Answer is a formal legal document in which defendants answer the allegations contained in the Complaint and present any defenses that they may have. It is very important that the Answer is timely filed. Failure to timely file an Answer results in many negative consequences including loss of all funds in the Paypal account, the ability to conduct business online and the loss of any assets that defendants may have in the U.S. See my article “The Consequences of Not Answering a U.S. Trademark Violation Suit” for a full explanation of the importance of timely filing an Answer. Defendants usually first learn of the lawsuit against them in the U.S. when they receive an email from Paypal informing them that Paypal has received a court order freezing their account. This notice advises defendants to seek U.S. legal counsel. At this point, defendants are often confused and mistakenly believe that Paypal is responsible for freezing their funds and have the discretion to release them. This is incorrect. See my article “Don’t Blame Paypal for Account Freeze.” Defendants next receive an email from plaintiff’s counsel informing them of the lawsuit. At this point, the requirement for notification has been met.

网站和电子邮件都会通知被告,他们必须在收到通知后二十一天内向法院提交“答复”。答复是一个正式的法律文件,被告回答投诉中包含的指控,并提交他们的辩护如果他们有的话。及时提交答复是非常重要的。未能及时提交答复有许多负面的后果,包括在贝宝账户中的资金全部损失,无法在网上开展业务和失去被告在美国的资产。请阅读我的文章“不答复美国商标侵权诉讼的后果”对及时提交答复重要性的充分解释。被告通常首先通过收到一封来自贝宝的邮件告知贝宝已收到冻结其账户的法庭命令知道在美国有一个针对他们的诉讼。通知会建议被告寻求美国法律顾问咨询。在这一点上,被告经常混淆和误认为贝宝负责冻结他们的资金和有权决定解冻。这是不正确的。请看我的文章“不要因为账户冻结责怪贝宝。”被告接着会收到来自原告律师的邮件通知他们这个诉讼。在这一点上,通知的要求已经满足。

 

It is also important that Defendants contact us well before the Answer deadline. The filing of an Answer signifies the beginning of formal litigation between the parties. A speedy settlement is also less likely after an Answer is filed as there is no pressure on either party to dispose of the case prior to any deadline. Around 90% defendants will choose settlement. However, if you choose to fight, we will fight for you and maximize your interest.

同样重要的是, 被告在答复截止日期之前尽早和我们联系。提交答复意味着双方正式诉讼的开始。在答复提交以后,要达成一个快速的和解方案不太可能,因为任何一方都没有在任何截止日期之前解决这个案子的压力。 90%左右的被告会选择和解方案。如果你选择打官司,我们会为你最大化利益战斗到底。

 

After the Answer is filed, the process of “Discovery” begins. Discovery is a part of the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process in which both parties exchange information. This information exchange may take place formally by the submission of written questions, requests to admit specific factual allegations or, rarely, the requirement that representatives of either party appear at a certain place and time to answer questions under oath. All questions must be answered honestly and no requested information may be hidden from view. The purpose of discovery and the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process is to determine the facts as they are in order to come to a fair resolution of the dispute.

在提交答复以后,“庭前交换证据”的过程开始了。庭前交换证据是美国商标诉讼过程的一部分,双方交换信息。这种信息交流可以通过提交书面问题,要求承认具体事实的指控,或者,很少情况下,要求任何一方的代表在某一地点和时间出现在誓言下来回答问题。所有问题必须如实回答而不能隐藏信息。庭前交换证据和美国商标诉讼过程的目的是确定事实,以便为了公平地解决争端。

 

The next step in the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process is what is known as a Motion for Summary Judgment. Under American law, judges decide questions of law and a jury decides questions of fact. A judge may fulfill both roles in some cases. In a Motion for Summary Judgment, either side may ask the judge to declare that there are no important facts that need to be determined by a trial. If the judge agrees, he or she will enter a judgment, a formal finding of liability, in the favor of one party. Civil cases often end with a judge’s ruling on a motion for summary judgment. In this event, the judge will also determine how much money must be paid.

美国商标诉讼程序的下一步是所谓的简易判决动议。根据美国法律,法官决定法律的问题而陪审团决定事实的问题。法官可以在某些情况下履行这两个角色。在简易判决的动议中,任何一方都可以要求法官宣布,没有重要的事实需要通过评审团审判来确定。如果法官同意,他或她将做出一个判决,一个有利于一方的正式的责任认定。民事案件往往以法官对简易判决动议的裁决结束。在这种情况下,法官也将决定必须支付多少钱。

 

Other motions are occasionally presented as well. In some cases, it may be possible to force the plaintiffs to release some or all of the funds restrained in the Paypal or other financial accounts prior to the end of the litigation. This is a complicated and labor intensive process that requires one or more court appearances. Other motions may also require an associate attorney to appear in court in Chicago on your behalf.

其他动议也可能被提交。在某些情况下,它可能会迫使原告在诉讼结束前释放部分或全部在贝宝冻结的资金或者其他金融账户。这是一个复杂和劳动密集的过程,需要一次或多次去法院出庭。其他动议也可能需要一名相关律师代表你在芝加哥出庭。

 

At the Law Office of L. Ford Banister, II, we understand that the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process is stressful. Defendants must face an unfamiliar process that is very different from China or other countries in some respects. No honest lawyer can guarantee a result. We can look at other cases with similar facts and based on our experience guess at the outcome. However, no two cases are ever exactly alike so the outcome is always unknown. The purpose of this article is to help anyone facing a lawsuit in the U.S. for trademark violation understand the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process so the process will be less stressful.

L.Ford Banister II律师事务所理解美国商标诉讼过程是有压力的。被告人必须面对一个陌生的流程,在某些方面和中国或其他国家有很大的不同。没有一个诚实的律师能保证结果。我们可以看看其他情况类似的事实,根据我们的经验猜测结果。然而,没有两个案例是完全一样的,所以结果总是未知的。这篇文章的目的是帮助面临美国商标侵权诉讼的任何人了解美国商标诉讼过程,以便在经历过程中减轻压力。

 

For U.S. legal representation, consultation and guidance through the U.S. Trademark Litigation Process, Contact the Law Office of L. Ford Banister, II today. We put our resources and experience to work to obtain the best possible outcome for each client.

有关美国商标诉讼的法律代表,咨询和指导,请今天就联系L. Ford Banister II律师事务所。我们会投入我们的资源和经验为每个客户最大化利益。

U.S. Trademark Litigation Process–www.Trademarkviolation.us

Leave a Comment