Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Not Only the Formula to Coke ...


For years any speech I have heard on trade secrets inevitably talks about the formula for coke. For those wanting to show a little variety, try Thomas English Muffins. According to a lawsuit that has been filed in district court in Pennsylvania, Chris Botticella is one of the fewer than 10 people in the world "with full knowledge of how to produce them." He does know the recipe, but not clear that is such an exclusive club. The artful wording that I quoted makes me think that number could be a little larger. You can see a copy of the complaint here. Bimbo Bakeries Trade Secret Complaint and TRO Request.

When Botticella was just retiring it was one thing, but when it was learned he was going to Bimbo's competitor, Hostess, that's when the complaint was filed.

Besides perhaps helping change the example used in CLE speeches, it might also be a very good case to test the contours of the inevitable disclosure doctrine. That doctrine has not fared well in all courts. I don't know what Pennsylvania or 3rd Circuit law is on that particular issue, but my guess is -- quite favorable.

Hat tip to the folks at Employment Law 360,  English Muffin Maker Slaps VP With Trade Secrets Suit ($).

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