Balance of Harms (Trademark) Law and Legal Definition

Generally, courts weight the harm to defendant if the injunction is imposed, against the harm to plaintiff if no injunction is ordered, prior to ordering injunctive relief, which is an equitable remedy. For example, where the court finds likely consumer confusion and yet refuses to enjoin the defendant from using the mark on the basis that defendant made a substantial good-faith investment in a mark, and the harm to defendant in loosing that investment outweighed the harm to plaintiff.

The decision in Deltek, Inc. v. Iuvo Sys., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33555 (E.D. Va. Apr. 20, 2009), provides that “In determining whether an injunction is appropriate, a district court must apply the balance-of-hardship test. Under the test, a court should examine the following four factors: 1) the likelihood of irreparable harm to the plaintiff without the injunction, 2) the likelihood of harm to the defendant with an injunction, 3) the plaintiff's likelihood of success on the merits, and 4) the public interest.”