SplitFish AG, et al. v. Bannco Corp.

Lawrence R. Robins

Case Conclusion Date:July 26, 2010

Practice Area:Copyright Infringement

Outcome:Preliminary Injunction Granted

Description:The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of firm clients SplitFish AG, SplitFish Gameware, Inc., and Nabon Corp., granting a preliminary injunction against Bannco Corp. that prohibits Bannco from selling video game controllers that incorporate or use software code copied from SplitFish’s “FragFX” video game controllers. Judge T.S. Ellis ruled that Nabon Corp. was the original owner of the software code at issue and that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their copyright infringement claim. Judge Ellis further ruled that Plaintiffs had made a sufficient showing that failure to enjoin Bannco’s conduct would result in irreparable harm to the Plaintiffs, that the balance of equities favored Plaintiffs and that an injunction would be in the public interest. The case is unusual in that the software in question was developed in China and Judge Ellis applied Chinese law in order to establish that Nabon was the copyright owner. The case also represents one of the first instances where a court in the Eastern District of Virginia has applied the more rigorous standard requiring plaintiffs seeking injunctive relief in copyright infringement actions to make a clear showing of irreparable harm. Under prior law, irreparable harm was presumed upon the plaintiff’s showing that it was reasonably likely to succeed on the merits of its case.