By: Aaron Kim, ITMG Insider Threat Analyst
A jury in a New Jersey federal court ruled that British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser LLC did not steal trade secrets from Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC to make its K-Y branded premature ejaculation spray.
According to the jury, Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC failed to provide any proof that the information at issue was protected as a trade secret, or that Reckitt acted committed fraud during the company’s acquisition negotiations.
In a lawsuit filed in 2017, Absorption said that its Promescent lidocaine spray was “poised to do for premature ejaculation what Viagra did for erectile dysfunction.” Absorption claims it shared secrets with Reckitt during discussions about a possible acquisition. According to the lawsuit, senior Reckitt employees tried samples of Promescent and said it “really works.” The lawsuit said Absorption later sent thousands of bottles of Promescent to Reckitt for testing. Reckitt ended their negotiations in 2015 and began producing K-Y Duration in 2016. Reckitt also allegedly pressured Amazon and Target to reduce Promescent’s visibility in an attempt to cut it out of the market.
The lawsuit also claims that Reckitt committed fraud by lying about its intentions to acquire Absorption, which persuaded it to reveal its secrets and turn down an offer to be acquired by another company.
Reckitt responded that it had not lied or misled Absorption and found no trade secrets were stolen. “For a case purportedly about trade secrets, Absorption has consistently been vague and non-specific about what information it actually believes deserves trade secret protection,” Reckitt said.
Absorption had sought more than $450 million in damages, according to a representative from Reckitt’s law firm, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door.
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