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Nutramax Laboratories, Inc. v. Pure Supplements Ltd.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

June 27, 2017

Nutramax Laboratories, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Pure Supplements Ltd., Defendant.

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [1]

         Plaintiff Nutramax Laboratories, Inc. (“Nutramax” or “Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Pure Supplements Ltd. (“PSL” or “Pure Supplements”) alleging claims of infringement on its registered trademark/intellectual property. (ECF No. 1.)

         This matter is before the court on Nutramax's unopposed Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 8.) After full consideration of Nutramax's Motion, Verified Complaint and all other matters presented, the court GRANTS Nutramax's Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT RELEVANT TO PENDING MOTION

         1. Nutramax researches, markets, distributes, and sells “high quality nutritional supplement products for use by humans and animals throughout the United States and internationally, under its trademarked name, NUTRAMAX LABORATORIES®.” (ECF No. 1 at 1 ¶ 1.)

         2. “Nutramax uses, owns, and has registered on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office the following mark relevant to this action (the “Mark”):

MARK

REG. NO.

REG. DATE

CLASS/GOODS

Nutramax Laboratories

2231260

March 16, 1999

Dietary food supplements”

(ECF No. 1 at 4 ¶ 15 (referencing ECF No. 24-2 at 2).)

         3. PSL also “manufactures, markets, and distributes dietary supplements.” (Id. at 1 ¶ 2.) Two of PSL's products are at issue in this matter: “a ‘Premium Cleanse, ' which purports to ‘help detoxify the body and facilitate healthy and effective digestion, ' and a supplement called ‘Garcinia Cambogia, ' an appetite suppressant that has been described as the ‘newest, fastest, fat burner.'” (Id.)

         4. PSL advertises, markets and sells Premium Cleanse and Garcinia Cambogia on various websites. (Id. at 5 ¶ 24.)

         5. “All of the Pure Supplements Websites offer consumers the opportunity for a ‘Risk-Free Trial' of one or both of these products.” (Id. at 8 ¶ 30.)

         6. “Consumers have complained that the trial offer described on the Pure Cleanse Website is a scam.” (Id. at 9 ¶ 34.)

         7. “When a consumer orders a free trial of the Premium Cleanse, s/he receives an invoice that purports to be from a ‘Nutra Max.'” (Id. at 10 ¶ 35.)

         8. “Because consumers receive an invoice from ‘Nutra Max' after they order from the Pure Cleanse Website, consumers are fraudulently led to believe that Plaintiff Nutramax is the perpetrator of the scam.” (Id. at ¶ 36.)

         9. “Consumers mistakenly believe that Plaintiff Nutramax sells the products on the Pure Cleanse Website and is the entity behind this scam.” (Id. at ¶ 37.)

         10. “Pure Supplements is using Nutramax's registered Mark to carry out this scam and to capitalize and profit on it to the detriment of Nutramax.” (Id. at ¶ 41.)

         11. On May 8, 2015, Nutramax filed a Verified Complaint alleging claims against PSL for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, common law fraud, violation of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act, and for preliminary and permanent injunction. (ECF No. 1 at 11 ¶ 44-15 ¶ 78.)

         12. Thereafter, on May 24, 2017, Nutramax filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 8) and Motion to Expedite Hearing on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction.[2] (ECF No. 9.)

         13. Nutramax served its Motion for Preliminary Injunction and a Notice of Hearing on PSL on May 26, 2017. (ECF No. 17.)

         14. On June 19, 2017, the court held a hearing on Nutramax's Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 33.) PSL did not appear at the June 19, 2017 hearing. After hearing argument from counsel for Nutramax, the court observed that it would enter an order granting the Motion for Preliminary Injunction (id.) and allow Nutramax approximately 90 days to conduct discovery necessitated by the injunction.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS

         A. Preliminary Injunctions Generally

         15. The court's authority to issue a preliminary injunction arises from Rule 65, [3] but “it is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right.” Winter v. Nat'l Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). A party seeking a preliminary injunction must establish all four of the following elements: (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in his favor; and (4) an ...


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