Saturday, January 19, 2008, 1/19/2008 09:04:00 PM

Seventh Circuit Vacates Trade Secrets Injunction on Lack of Specificity Grounds

By Todd
Those of you who have actually read a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction order know that there's usually some portion that says "THOU SHALT NOT DO . . . . " and the list is can be pretty long. Oftentimes the list is pretty vague too.

That's what the defendants were arguing in Patriot Homes, Inc. v. Forest River Housing, Inc. a case originally argued to the Seventh Circuit on March 29, 2007 and decided on January 10th, 2008. They argued "hey, some of these prohibitions amount to ambiguous "don't violate the law and don't take their stuff" restrictions and we don't know what the court considers their stuff."

Makes sense to us. An injunction needs to be definite and particular in the conduct that it prohibits - because violation of that order subjects the enjoined party to civil and criminal contempt in the right circumstances.

Made sense to the Seventh Circuit, too. The decision is a must read for attorneys who seek and obtain injunctions. We suspect this will open up a new basis for appeals in this area as all-too-many injunctions are too vague or too broad to be blessed on appeal.

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