By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Maryellen Noreika in Dr. Matthias Rath et al. v. Vita Sanotec, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 17-953-MN (D.Del. October 2, 2020), the Court granted the motion of Plaintiffs Dr. Matthias Rath, Dr. Rath International and Dr. Rath Health Programs B.V. (“Plaintiffs”) seeking attorneys’ fees be assessed against Defendants Vita Sanotec, Inc., Vita Sanotec B.V. and Frank Krailing.
By way of background, Plaintiffs filed the case against Defendants alleging claims for misappropriation of Plaintiffs’ intellectual property and violations of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1125 et seq. Eventually, after Defendants failed to participate in the litigation, default judgment was entered and an order permanently enjoining Defendants from infringing Plaintiffs’ marks and intellectual property, and reserved Plaintiffs’ rights to seek damages and attorneys’ fees. Id. at *3. Plaintiffs’ filed their motion for attorneys’ fees more than a year later and thereafter filed a motion seeking entry of final judgment. Id. Initially, Plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fees was denied by Chief Magistrate Judge Thygne as untimely because it was purportedly filed beyond the fourteen (14) day filing window set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). Id. Plaintiffs filed objections to Chief Magistrate Judge Thynge’s Report and the Court allowed Plaintiffs to re-file their motion seeking attorneys’ fees under the Lanham Act. Id.
Upon evaluation of the re-filed motion for attorneys’ fees, the Court found that Plaintiffs’ motion was timely because the default judgment entered pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b) did not dispose of all of the claims among the parties and the judge that entered the default judgment did not direct entry of final judgment under Rule 54(b). Id. at *5.
After finding Plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fees was timely, the Court also found the case to be exceptional based on the merits of the case and Defendants’ litigation conduct. Id. at *6-7. Having found the case to be exceptional, the Court also determined that an award of attorneys’ fees to be appropriate because, among other things, Defendants failed to litigate resulting in default judgment. Id. Ultimately, the Court awarded Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees in the amount of $204,261.33. Id. at *9.
A copy of the Memorandum Opinion is attached.