Sue L. Robinson: “Self-Serving” Declaration Cannot Support Finding of Irreparable Harm

District judge Sue L. Robinson recently denied a request for a permanent injunction in part on the ground that the movant failed to supply the necessary documentary and analytical evidence to prove irreparable harm. By doing so, the Court implicitly gave guidance to litigators seeking to satisfy their evidentiary burden under the so-called e-Bay factors:

“[P]laintiff’s case suffers from several fatal flaws. It is most problematic that plaintiff points to no documentary (or other) evidence regarding the effects of defendants’ infringement (on plaintiff). As noted previously, the court has no market data before it. There is also no clear indication of a direct link between defendants’ infringing sales . . . , loss of goodwill to plaintiff or, more broadly, a change in the market landscape.” (at 9-10)

Notably, the Court also dismissed the credibility of the evidence plaintiff did offer – a declaration by plaintiff’s president of product strategy – characterizing it as “rife with impermissible speculation” (at 6 n.11) and “self-serving” statements (at 9 n.15). The lesson is clear: an argument on irreparable harm must be built on some evidence beyond a party’s declaration.

IGT v. Bally Gaming Int’l Inc., C.A. No. 06-282-SLR (D. Del. Dec. 22, 2009) (Robinson, J.).

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