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Federal jury in New Jersey rules trade secrets were not stolen

Givaudan, which has operations here in New Jersey, is a fragrance and flavor company that conducts business worldwide. A company such as this relies on its trade secrets to remain competitive in the market. Therefore, when the company believed a former employee stole sensitive information when he left the company, a federal lawsuit was filed against him.

The employee who left was a perfumer. He took a position with another fragrance company called Mane USA. Givaudan claimed in its lawsuit, which was filed in 2008, that the employee stole trade secrets when he departed. Givaudan estimated the value of those secrets at approximately $80 million.

Givaudan alleged in its court documents that the employee's theft of the company's trade secrets was one of the worst ever perpetrated in New Jersey. Unfortunately for Givaudan, the jury did not agree. The jury recently ruled that the fragrances developed by the perfumer for his new employer were developed separately and not the result of any ideas that may have been misappropriated from Givaudan.

Mane USA is pleased with the verdict. Counsel for the former employee believes the jury's verdict is a complete vindication for their client. Reports did not indicate whether Givaudan plans to appeal the verdict.

It may only be natural for company representatives to be nervous when a key employee leaves with knowledge of the company's trade secrets. When it comes to the attention of a company that a former employee may have absconded with trade secrets upon his or her departure, a lawsuit may be needed in order to safeguard the company's interests. If a company successfully proves that trade secrets were stolen, it may be awarded damages that range from injunctive relief to financial restitution.

Source: njbiz.com, Federal jury rules former Givaudan employee did not steal trade secrets, Beth Fitzgerald, Feb. 7, 2014

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