United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
Robert E. Blackburn United States District Judge
This matter is before me on the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction [#13] filed December 18, 2015. The defendant filed a response [#19], and the plaintiff filed a reply [#21]. On February 16, 2016, I conducted a hearing on the motion. At the hearing, the parties presented testimony and other evidence. I have considered that evidence, the evidence submitted by the parties with their written submissions, and the arguments advanced and authorities cited by the parties in their written submissions and at the hearing. I deny the motion.
I have jurisdiction over this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question), § 1338(a) (trademark and copyright), § 1338(b) (unfair competition claim joined with copyright or trademark claim), § 1367 (supplemental), and 15 U.S.C. § 1121 (trademark).
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A party seeking a preliminary injunction must show: (1) that the movant has a substantial likelihood of eventual success on the merits; (2) that the movant will suffer imminent and irreparable injury unless the injunction issues; (3) that the threatened injury to the movant outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; and (4) that the injunction, if issued, would not be adverse to the public interest. Lundgrin v. Claytor, 619 F.2d 61, 63 (10th Cir. 1980); Heideman v. S. Salt Lake City, 348 F.3d 1182, 1189 (10th Cir. 2003) (irreparable injury must be imminent).
When the moving party has established that the three harm factors tip decidedly in favor of the movant, the probability of success requirement is somewhat relaxed, and the movant need only show questions going to the merits so serious, substantial, difficult, and doubtful as to make them a fair ground for litigation. Nova Health Systems v. Edmondson 460 F.3d 1295, 1298 n. 6 (10th Cir. 2006). On the other hand, some types of temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions are disfavored and, therefore, require the plaintiff to satisfy a heightened burden of showing that the four primary factors
weigh heavily and compellingly in movant’s favor before such an injunction may be issued. The heightened burden applies to preliminary injunctions that (1) disturb the status quo, (2) are mandatory as opposed to prohibitory, or (3) provide the movant substantially all the relief he may recover after a full trial on the merits.
Kikumura v. Hurley, 242 F.3d 950, 955 (10th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation and citation omitted).
For the past twenty years, the defendant, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, Inc. (LVRG), has owned and operated a franchised Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews restaurant near Easton, Pennsylvania (the Restaurant). On February 20, 1995, the parties executed a franchise agreement which controlled the operation of the Restaurant. The franchise was for an initial term of 20 years. On March 5, 1999, the parties executed an agreement which modified certain terms in the franchise agreement, including the renewal right of LVRG.
The 20 year term of the franchise agreement expired on November 26, 2015. According to LVRG, on March 4, 2015, it provided to Red Robin timely notice if the intent of LVRG to renew its franchise for the Easton, Pennsylvania location. LVRG says it has complied fully with all of the requirements for a valid renewal of the franchise for an additional 10 year term.
Annual gross revenues at the restaurant are about 3.5 million dollars. LVRG operates about 20 other Red Robin franchised restaurants in Pennsylvania.
Red Robin contends LVRG did not meet all of the requirements for a valid renewal of the franchise agreement. In the view of Red Robin, the franchise agreement has expired. LVRG continues to operate the Restaurant as a Red Robin restaurant. According to Red Robin, this continued use of the Red Robin name, trade dress, and systems is a violation of the termination provisions in the ...