Trident Products & Services, LLC v. Canadian Soiless Wholesale, Ltd.
Case #: 3:10–CV–00877
John A. Gibney, Jr.
Full Text Opinion: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/virginia/vaedce/3:2010cv00877/260610/77/0.pdf?1334843461
Trade Secrets: Without expert testimony, a reasonable juror could not determine whether a trade secret was "not known or readily ascertainable by proper means."
Trident Products and Services, LLC (“Trident”) accused Canadian Soiless Wholesale, d/b/a Advanced Nutrients (“Advanced Nutrients”), of reselling their nutrient enriching product for plants. Trident’s product, EPG, was first repackaged and resold by Advanced Nutrients as VooDoo Juice in 2000 with the full consent of Trident. Advanced Nutrients learned of the EPG formula during this period in order to ensure that sales would comply with local environmental regulations. Trident did not offer this information until 2005, when it was shared along with a nondisclosure agreement to ensure confidentiality. This information was then shared with a competitor of Trident, Research Organization and Manufacture of Bioproducts (“ROMB”), and posted partly on the labeling of VooDoo Juice. ROMB later brought a product to market that was very similar to Trident’s EPG formula. Advanced Nutrients purchased this new formulation from ROMB to make the new and improved VooDoo Juice. Trident declined to get an expert witness, stating that it was common sense that two formulas sharing the same 5 microbes and same preservative could not be developed independently. The court disagreed, ruling that a reasonable juror was not equipped to make this kind of determination. Without this testimony, Trident had failed to provide a complaint that a reasonable juror could use to determine whether the trade secret was “not known or readily ascertainable by proper means.” The court GRANTED summary judgment to Trident.