In Sanrio, Inc. v. Ronnie Home Textile Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently refused to stay a civil case pending completion of a parallel criminal counterfeiting investigation.
In Sanrio, the plaintiffs sued a corporation and two alleged principals for trademark infringement and other claims. The case was filed after law enforcement seized allegedly counterfeit goods offered for sale by the defendants and related evidence. The defendants argued that the civil case should be stayed because the seizure left them without means to substantively defend themselves. They further argued that allowing the civil case to go forward would implicate the individual defendants’ Fifth Amendment rights, though criminal charges had not been brought against them.