Marion Superior Court has granted temporary restraining and seizure orders to the NFL, along with the New England Patriots and New York Giants, after they requested injunctions on Jan. 25.
The orders give the NFL and the two Super Bowl teams the authority to seize unlicensed merchandise without notice. Those caught selling items without proper trademarks face financial penalties and will have their merchandise confiscated.
“Previous trademark protection efforts during the Super Bowl period demonstrate that the professional infringers who ‘work’ the site of the game will defy or avoid temporary restraining orders and will continue to sell their counterfeit merchandise in any possible manner,” the NFL said in its suit. “The only effective way to combat this problem is to seize the goods at the point of sale.”
The restraining and seizure orders take effect at noon on Friday and last through Monday, the day after the game.
“Plaintiffs have shown that notice need not be given because vendors and manufacturers of counterfeit NFL merchandise have no business identity and cannot be identified, located or notified … and if so notified would flee with the counterfeit merchandise,” Judge Cynthia Ayers wrote in granting the orders.
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The fact is federal and state law enforcement officials already have the power to treat selling and/or possession of infringing materials as a criminal offense and seize the property pursuant to an arrest. For a court to give the power to seize private property as a civil violation to a private entity whenever that entity feels it has been wronged, well that is quite remarkable and unlikely to be upheld if ever challenged. Of course when a lawsuit doesn't actually identify a defendant before an order is issued, it's really hard to take an appeal. Is there anything we won't do for the NFL?