Trade secrets refer to an organization’s proprietary knowledge that provides a competitive edge and would be detrimental if released, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Often trade secrets are difficult to obtain, not known outside of the organization and subject to security measures. Most states, California included, have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act which defines the acquisition of trade secrets through improper means as misappropriation. Victims of trade secret misappropriation are liable to receive compensation for the profits gained by the thieving entity. In addition, misappropriation of trade secrets violates the federal 1996 Economic Espionage Act, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $5 million in fines.
Recently, the perfume manufacturer Givaudan Fragrances Corporation alleged that one of their perfumers, James Krivda, misappropriated 600 perfume recipes before he left the corporation to work for Mane USA Inc., a rival perfume manufacturer. According to the allegations, “Krivda and Mane have attempted one of the greatest heists of trade secrets this jurisdiction may have ever seen” and “[t]his case involves one of the most egregious thefts of trade secrets by a departing employee ever witnessed in New Jersey.”
Givaudan claims that the Krivda stole over $80 million dollars worth of trade secrets that constituted “the lifeblood of Givaudan’s business,” according to the allegations. However, Givaudan refused to state which trade secrets were actually misappropriated, which resulted in the dismissal of the claims. “The verdict was a complete vindication for Mr. Krivda and Mane, who had their reputations marred by Givaudan’s baseless accusations for years,” stated Mane’s attorneys. “There was never a shred of evidence of conspiracy or misappropriation. The jury agreed.”
If an organization has falsely accused you or your employer of trade secret misappropriation, our Los Angeles trade secret attorneys can help. The Klein Law Firm has over 25 years of business litigation experience, aggressively defending victims of intellectual property disputes. For more information about how we can assist in your particular case, contact us at (323) 653-3900.
[Did You Know: Trade secret laws protect intellectual property that is waiting on patent approval, according to WIPO.]
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