Ascend Capital filed suit in June 2021, asserting itself to be the assignee of Epilog Health LLC and owner of trademark registrations for the mark “NUSPEECH.” Ascend says that defendant Rahul Chaturvedi and his company Moolex, LLC has wrongfully claimed to have the right to use the mark in court filings relating to a bankruptcy and lawsuit brought by Chaturvedi against third parties. Ascend sought a declaration confirming that it was the rightful owner of the marks and an injunction preventing Chaturvedi and Moolex from using the marks in the Internet Healthcare Services sector.
After numerous delays in which Chaturvedi sought to stay the litigation, he answered the complaint in January 2022, but Moolex never filed an answer. The clerk filed an entry of default on January 13, 2022, and Ascend Capital filed a motion for default judgment later that month.
Judge Saylor denied Ascend’s motion for default. He noted that, pursuant to Rule 54(b), final judgment may be directed against less than all of the defendants only if the court determines that there is no just reason for delay, and is only to be employed in exceptional circumstances. The sole identified risk in withholding default judgment is that Moolex might continue to use the disputed trademark while litigation proceeds, but such a risk exists in every case. Judge Saylor further noted that, should Chaturvedi prevail, the acts that Moolex is accused of would not constitute infringement.
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