Lady Gaga is performing at Madison Square Garden in NY on July 6,7 and 9 and February 21 and 22. Her trademark representatives beliieve that bootleg merchandise will be sold at these shows, and have filed a ‘John Doe trademark complaint.’ John Doe actions are interesting as they represent an exception to the law’s antipathy to the events depicted in the movie ‘Minority Report’ in which Tom Cruise works for the Precrime Department.
To plagiarize myself:
. . . the law permits the filing of a case against describable but presently unknown persons for anticipated describable future infringement, of a type where a law enforcement officer can make an on-the-scene determination that something is very likely an infringement.
A policy rationale for a John Doe seizure is that without on-the-spot seizure, the TM owner will suffer irreparable harm, as immediately following the event, the defendant and their proceeds will vanish, thus making an after-the-fact lawsuit purposeless. John Doe seizures are granted usually in connection with short-lived events such as sporting championships or concerts, where unincorporated, premise-less entities possessing small inventories (also known as kids holding duffel bags of shirts) are likely to offer counterfeit merchandise. The seizure order should contain sufficient specificity such that a marshal can make a determination whether a shirt constitutes a counterfeit, with a high degree of accuracy (for example, does the shirt bear the registered logo of the band, or not?). A court may blue-pencil plaintiff’s requested parameters of the seizure with regard to what constitutes plaintiff’s marks, vicinity and timing of permitted seizures. Bear in mind that if the seizure turns out to be unlawful, the vendor should be able to seek compensation from the plaintiff.
Complaint Lady Gaga John Doe