What is an Injunction?

An injunction is an order of the court to do or refrain from doing something.  Disobedience to such an order may be punished with a fine, imprisonment or other sanction. Orders to do something such as deliver up allegedly infringing goods by a specified date are called "mandatory injunctions" and orders to refrain from doing something such as "not to infringe the claimant's copyright" or "not to make, sell or otherwise dispose" of a specified article as "prohibitory injunctions".

Types of Injunction

There are two types of injunctions:

  • interim injunctions; and
  • perpetual injunctions.

Most of this website is concerned with interim injunctions.

Interim Injunctions

These are injunctions until a specified date or event. Typical circumstances where such an order might be sought are where an alleged infringer threatens to dispose of his stock of offending items and disappear before a case against him can come to trial. The purpose of such injunctions is to prevent a party from taking steps that could defeat the process of justice.

Perpetual Injunctions

These are orders made a after trial or other determination of a dispute. They are not limited in time and are usually expressed in very much broader terms than an interim injunction. A typical example would be an order to a defendant not to infringe the claimant's copyright in a specified work for as long as that copyright subsists.