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.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides and Barnerd LLC 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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