Stobich Fire Protection Systems LP v. Smoke Guard Inc.
MEMORANDUM ORDER re 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order filed by Stobich Fire Protection Systems LP is DENIED. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 6/25/14. (ntl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
STOBICH FIRE PROTECTION
C.A. No. 14-802-LPS
SMOKE GUARD, INC.,
Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. (D.I. 2)
For the reasons below, Plaintiffs motion is DENIED.
Plaintiff Stobich Fire Protection Systems LP ("Plaintiff') filed this lawsuit
alleging that Defendant Smoke Guard, Inc. ("Defendant") has violated Sections 7(a)(iii) and
7(b)(ii) of the Distribution Agreement (dated June 1, 2010) between the parties (the
"Agreement"), and, separately, the Delaware Uniform Trade Secrets Act, 6 Del. C. § 2001 et seq.
(D.I. 1) Yesterday, June 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for temporary restraining order,
requesting that Defendant be restrained from selling, distributing, marketing, or promoting
certain new products in violation of the Agreement and the Delaware statute. Plaintiff requested
extraordinarily expedited treatment of its motion, seeking resolution prior to the beginning of the
American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, which starts
tomorrow, June 26. (D.I. 2) Plaintiff further believes that Defendant intends to begin selling the
new products on July 1, 2014. (D.I. 4 at 2) The Court ordered and received letter briefs from the
parties today. (D.I. 7, 8)
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65, the Court has discretion to decide
whether to grant the requested extraordinary relief. See Kos Pharm., Inc. v. Andrx Corp., 369
F.3d 700, 708 (3d Cir. 2004) ("Preliminary injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy and
should be granted only in limited circumstances.") (internal quotation marks omitted). A party
seeking a temporary restraining order must show: (1) "a reasonable probability of success on the
merits;" (2) "the movant will be irreparably injured by denial of the relief;" (3) "granting
preliminary relief will [not] result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party;" and
(4) "granting the preliminary relief will be in the public interest." Allegheny Energy, Inc. v.
DQE, Inc., 171 F.3d 153, 158 (3d Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff has failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits. It appears likely
that the non-compete provision on which Plaintiff relies (Section 7(a)(iii)) expired with the
termination of the Agreement, as this provision (unlike others in the Agreement) contains no
survival clause. As for the trade secret claims (based on alleged violations of Section 7(b)(ii) of
the Agreement as well as Delaware statute), the Court does not find a likelihood of success given
Plaintiffs failure to identify with specificity one or more trade secrets to which Defendant had
access and could have misused. See generally !DX Sys. Corp. v. Epic Sys. Corp., 285 F.3d 581,
583-84 (7th Cir. 2002) (stating plaintiff "must demonstrate that [trade secret] is valuable, not
known to others who might profit by its use, and has been handled by means reasonably designed
to maintain secrecy").
With regard to irreparable harm, the record the Court has been provided of the
parties' pre-suit correspondence shows that Defendant made clear at least many months ago its
views with respect to expiration of the non-compete provision in the Agreement and its belief
that it had not been provided access to any specific trade secret belonging to Plaintiff. (See D.I. 7
Exs.) 1 In this context, especially given the timing of the lawsuit and the motion, the Court finds
no persuasive basis to conclude that any harm Plaintiff will suffer in the absence of a TRO would
On balance of the harms, Plaintiff again fails to persuade the Court. The lack of
irreparable harm to Plaintiff is outweighed by the harm that would be caused to Defendant from
entry of the requested TRO, which would disrupt Defendant's planned display at the AIA
convention tomorrow and interfere with Defendant's marketing plans. Particularly given that
Plaintiff appears to have had some notice well before yesterday of at least a significant portion of
Defendant's plans, the balance of harms disfavors granting a TRO.
Finally, the public interest disfavors relief as well. In the extremely short time
Plaintiff has given the Court to decide its motion, Plaintiff has failed to show that the public
interest supports immediate judicial intervention in the parties' competitive relationship in the
manner proposed by Plaintiff.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order (D.I. 2) is DENIED.
Plaintiff s failure to identify any specific trade secrets to which Defendant had access is
compounded by the fact that many of the technical documents Plaintiff generally points to (e.g.,
"test reports") appear to contain information that was already publically disseminated. (See D.I.
7 at 5 n.1)
June 25, 2014
UNITED STATES DI~ JUDGE
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