In 2014, Hetronic International, Inc. (“Hetronic”) sued its former distribution partners, Hetronic Germany and HCEE, for breach of contract after discovering that Hetronic Germany and HCEE were using parts of unknown origin in Hetronic® branded systems. Hetronic later amended the complaint to add Hetronic Germany’s and HCEE’s successors Abitron Germany and Abitron Austria, respectively, and ABI Holding which owned all four companies as well as Albert Fuchs who is the ultimate owner of all of these companies. In the amended complaint, Hetronic added claims for infringement of the Hetronic® name, product names and trade dress as well as tort claims involving the Fuchs companies and Hetronic’s former president, Torsten Rempe. The claims against Torsten Rempe were settled before the case went to trial.
In February 2020, the case went to trial before a jury in the federal court in the Western District of Oklahoma. On March 1, 2020, the jury rendered a verdict for Hetronic on all of its claims, awarding it in total approximately $102 million in compensatory damages, with individual specific awards against the above-mentioned defendants ranging from $703,701.00 up to $60,560,346.00.
In addition, the jury awarded $10,721,664.00 in punitive damages, with individual specific awards ranging from $500,000.00 up to $8,221,664.00 against Abitron Germany, Abitron Austria, ABI Holding, and Albert Fuchs.
The jury verdict is not yet a final judgment. The defendants can bring post-trial motions if they choose, and can appeal the final judgment.