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The Prudential Insurance Company of America, A New Jersey Corporation v. Corman Associates

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 21, 2011

THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION; PRUDENTIAL REAL ESTATE AFFILIATES, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CORMAN ASSOCIATES, INC., A PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATION; WILLIAM W. SIEG, AN INDIVIDUAL; MELISSA A. SIEG, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. David O. Carter

Order Issuing a Preliminary Injunction

Date: July 18, 2011 Time: 8:30 a.m.

Judge: Hon. David. O. Carter Ctrm.: 9D

Complaint filed: April 25, 2011 Trial Date: No date set

The motion of plaintiffs The Prudential Insurance Company of America ("Prudential") and Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. ("PREA") (collectively referred to as "Plaintiffs") for issuance of a preliminary injunction against defendants Corman Associates, Inc., William W. Sieg, and Melissa A. Sieg (collectively referred to as "Defendants") was GRANTED AS UNOPOSSED on July 14, 2011 pursuant to United States District Court Central District of California Local Rule 7-9. On proof made to the court, and good cause appearing, including:

1. Plaintiffs have a high probability of success on PREA's claims for breach of the franchise agreement and guarantee between PREA and Defendants and Plaintiffs' claims related to Defendants' infringement of Plaintiffs' name and marks because the franchise agreement was terminated, Defendants have failed to take the steps outlined in the franchise agreement to disassociate themselves with Plaintiffs, and Defendants continue to breach the franchise agreement and infringe on Plaintiffs' name and marks by using and displaying Plaintiffs' name and marks in connection with Defendants' real estate business without authority to do so;

2. Plaintiffs will likely suffer irreparable harm if the requested injunction is not granted as (a) irreparable harm is presumed because Defendants are infringing Plaintiffs' name and marks and (b) Defendants' actions inhibit Plaintiffs' ability to control and maintain Plaintiffs' marks, PREA's franchise system, and Plaintiffs' reputation and business; and

3. The public will be defrauded by Defendants' continued unauthorized use of Plaintiffs' name and marks in connection with their real estate business.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, during the pendency of this action, the above defendants Corman Associates, Inc., William W. Sieg, Melissa A. Sieg, and their employees, agents, and others acting on their behalf, in concert with them, or at their direction, are directed and enjoined as follows:

1. Defendants shall not directly or indirectly use and shall immediately cease the use of the name "Prudential," or "Prudential First Choice Realty, " Prudential's Rock Logo, or any other mark, word, or name similar to Plaintiffs' names and marks which is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive in connection with Defendants' real estate business;

2. Defendants shall not operate or hold themselves or their real estate business out to the public or others as being sponsored by, approved by, affiliated with, authorized by, or connected with, Prudential or PREA, nor shall Defendants make any written or oral statement holding themselves or their real estate business out as "Prudential First Choice Realty," or as being in any way connected with Prudential or PREA;

3. Defendants shall contact any domain name registrar to abandon all domain names containing the word "Prudential" or any of Prudential's proprietary marks, including, without limitation the domain name www.prudentialfirstchoice.com. Defendants shall contact any internet service provider to purge any domain name server information from any web site addresses which have been used to promote Defendants' previous PREA franchised business and contact any search engines to delete references to their formerly Prudential branded real estate businesses;

4. Defendants shall remove and destroy any and all existing building and yard signage in their possession containing the Prudential name or marks, and all existing printed materials in their possession bearing the Prudential name and marks, including but not limited to, business cards, stationery, envelopes, labels, signs, prints, packages, advertisements, forms, contracts, promotional items and any other materials in Defendants' possession, custody or control, that identify Defendants or their real estate business as operating under the names "Prudential," or "Prudential First Choice Realty," and any and all proofs, plates, and any other means for making such material; and

5. Defendants shall not place any further orders for any printed materials, advertisements, telephone listings, or other materials using the names "Prudential," "Prudential First Choice Realty, " or any substantially similar name.

The above preliminary injunction is effective upon Plaintiffs' filing of an undertaking in the sum of $2,500.

United States District Judge David O. Carter

20110721

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