Just days after Kanye West's legal team filed a pretty big lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, against the creators of digital currency, Coinye (as well as a bunch of other defendants, including Amazon), a federal judge preliminarily ruled on a few aspects of the case. According to rapper's complaint, which alleges 14 causes of action, which range from trademark infringement and dilution to publicity rights violations and deceptive business practices, West wants the anonymous creators to cease use of his trademark (or better yet, one that is confusingly similar to his trademark). U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres said at a hearing in New York federal court that West showed a “likelihood of success on the merits” in his case. You probably already know this by now as everyone from Billboard to Perez Hilton has written that "West is going to win the lawsuit." What you probably don't know, however, is what this actually means.
Since Judge Torres didn't actually say "Kanye is going to win the lawsuit," let's put that to the side for just a moment. What the Judge actually said is this: “The complaint sets forth a prima facie case of trademark infringement." That is not synonymous with "Kanye is going to win." What it does mean, though, is that the evidence before the court (namely, what Kanye presented in his complaint - think: tweets, articles, etc.) is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence presented by the defendants (Coinye's as-of-now anonymous creators). So, absent Team Coinye presenting a valid defense, the elements of trademark infringement have been met.
And speaking of meeting the necessary elements, the Judge also held that West showed a “likelihood of success on the merits.” While this is related to what appears to be an open-and-shut case in Kanye's favor, it has different implications. Not only is West seeking damages ($$$) and a permanent injunction (aka for the Coinye creators to permanently discontinue use of the allegedly infringing currency), he also wants a preliminary injunction, a temporary but immediate order that Coinye be discontinued prior to the final ruling of the case. In order to be granted a preliminary injunction, it was West's burden to show that a few things, one of which is that he is likely to succeed on the merits (aka that his suit is likely to succeed). The other factors that must be established for a preliminary injunction: That the plaintiff (Kanye in this case) is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." I won't get into what all of these terms actually mean, but I will say this ... it appears that the Judge ruled in West's favor as the Coinye website is no longer up and running. For a little while, the site read: “COINYE IS DEAD. You win, Kanye.” And now, it just includes a bunch of memes of Judge Judy and Kanye.