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Regulatory: When should your company say “No” to seeking a TRO?

TROs can provide an early boost to a trade secrets case, but they are also risky

A motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) is the familiar opening salvo for a trade secrets case. However, this approach may not be the right opening move for your company. The decision to seek a TRO requires careful consideration.

The most obvious benefit from immediately seeking a TRO is the opportunity to address and prevent imminent harm that the plaintiff may be facing. In trade secret litigation, the potential loss of customers and employees, as well as intangible injuries such as loss of good will, can be significant. When a plaintiff seeks to immediately stop the defendant’s misuse of trade secrets, as opposed to filing a regularly noticed motion for a preliminary injunction, these damaging effects can be greatly minimized.  A TRO can also greatly enhance leverage for early settlement or at least an interim agreed injunction. A defendant may consent to limited injunctive relief to avoid the burden and expense of expedited litigation. Of course, a TRO can be a very intimidating display of litigation muscle, and the prospect of an early dramatic victory is a temptation the plaintiff may find hard to resist.


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Matthew Prewitt

Matthew Prewitt is a partner in the Chicago office of Schiff Hardin, where he concentrates in complex litigation and also co-chairs the firm's Trade Secrets Client Services...

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Contributing Author

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Sarah Youngblood

Sarah Youngblood is an associate in the San Francisco office of Schiff Hardin. Sarah's practice includes a variety of areas, including labor and employment, products liability,...

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