In this patent infringement action, the Defendant, GHP Group, Inc. ("GHP"), hired the Plaintiff's, ProCom Heating, Inc. ("ProCom"), president during the litigation. The Plaintiff then filed a request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to preclude the Defendant from discussing the case with the Plaintiff's former president.
To analyze the request for preliminary injunction, the district court noted that Kirchner was President of ProCom from October 6, 2014, to September 1, 2016, that during his time as President of ProCom, he was highly involved in the litigation, and that Kirchner is now Vice President of New Channel Development for GHP.
Based on these facts, the district court concluded that ProCom "is likely to suffer immediate and irreparable harm if a Preliminary Injunction is not entered in this action because confidential, proprietary, and privileged information of ProCom related to the issues in the captioned action, including information protected under the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine, may be disclosed to GHP by Kirchner.'
The district court also concluded that "[t]he benefits to ProCom of the requested Preliminary Injunction far outweigh any potential harm to GHP or any other third parties" and "[t]he public interest will be served by the Preliminary Injunction, including the public interest in the protection of proprietary and privileged information."
Accordingly, the district court granted the preliminary injunction and ordered that "GHP and its directors, officers, employees, agents, members, successors, assigns, representatives, and attorneys are prohibited from communicating, directly or indirectly, with Kirchner about the above-captioned litigation, including the facts of the case and any confidential, proprietary, or privileged information stemming from or related to the case."
The district court also ordered that "the parties shall depose Kirchner in the presence of Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl at the U.S. Courthouse in Bowling Green, Kentucky. GHP and its directors, officers, employees, agents, and attorneys are prohibited from interviewing Kirchner about the above-captioned litigation outside of the deposition."
Procom Heating, Inc. v. GHP Group, Inc., Case No. 1:13-CV-00163-GNS-HBB (W.D. Ky. Oct. 12, 2016)
The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.