NBA, MLB, CLC, NHL Get a $30 Billion Legal Victory and Nobody Notices

NBA, MLB, CLC, NHL Get a $30 Billion Legal Victory and Nobody Notices

Fresh off their $18 billion dollar pyrrhic victory over websites allegedly selling counterfeit jerseys, the NBA, MLB, CLC, NHL, et al. racked up another big win against another batch of websites allegedly selling another batch of counterfeit goods.

And no one noticed or really cared.

On February 13, the Northern District of Illinois wrapped up the NBA, MLB, CLC, NHL, et al.'s December 12 lawsuit by ruling against and shutting down 1,494 allegedly infringing websites, mostly because the websites failed to show up to defend themselves.

After all, the websites allegedly operated from abroad., so it was unlikely they'd travel to Chicago in January and February to defend themselves. Heck, I just had two hearings at the same courthouse this week, and had to battle snow, cold and slush. So, while the defendants here were allegedly counterfeiters, they had more sense than I did.

Not only did the court shut down all of the websites (just like it had done in the previous lawsuit) named in this second lawsuit, it also found each defendant owed the plaintiffs $2,000,000 "for willful use of counterfeits of Plaintiffs' Trademarks."

Again, just like what happened with the first lawsuit.

Now, the plaintiffs' first $18-billion-dollar lawsuit was obviously large. $2 million judgments against each of the 893 websites named in the suit will do that. This second suit, however, is larger, with a judgment against 1,494 websites.

For those playing at home, this one is a $30 billion win for the plaintiffs.

Legal aside: Technically, it's closer to a $60 billion dollar win because the "defendants" might also include a large number of registrants and email addresses. But if you only count websites that got nailed, it's a $30 billion win. Besides, we're into Dr. Evil land here with a ridiculous number of zeroes and none of the defendants are likely to pay anything anyway. So whether it's $30 or $60 billion or a ka-jillion dollars, it doesn't matter.

Normally, a judgment of this size would garner more attention, but these plaintiffs have these types of cases down to such a formula. It's not that noticeable. And again, given they are unlikely to collect any money, no one really cares.

Although, I hope the attorneys involved in these cases do hang a copy of this order on their home refrigerators. Regardless of what it's actually worth, a $30 billion win sure looks a lot better than their kids' spelling test results.

So, what will the NBA, MLB, CLC, NHL, et al. do for an encore? Well, they'll likely file an even larger lawsuit and get an even larger pyrrhic victory.

And because it's so formulaic now, it likely won't even get an article from me. Just a tweet.

A $30+ billion tweet, but just a tweet nonetheless.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

The views expressed in the "Law of Cards" column are solely those of the author and are not affiliated with the Simmons Law Firm. You should not act or rely on any information in the "Law of Cards" column without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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