aluxum /
15 October 2019Saman Javed

UPL ordered to pay AgroFresh $31m for trade secrets theft

Indian chemical manufacturer  UPL has been ordered to pay US-based  AgroFresh Solutions $31 million after a jury ruled that it had stolen the company’s trade secrets and infringed one of its patents.

The jury verdict, which was entered on October 11 at the  US District Court for the District of Delaware, comes more than three years after AgroFresh first took action against UPL in 2016.

The dispute was over AgroFresh’s SmartFresh technology, which keeps apples in storage fresh after harvest.

As reported by  Business Standard, while the award is a win for AgroFresh, it is a fraction of the $346.2million it had asked for in its original complaint.

In order to develop the technology, AgroFresh employed a food-science professor.

In 2014, while UPL was in talks to buy AgroFresh, it signed a non-disclosure agreement for access to the US company’s documents.

Following this, UPL then allegedly hired an AgroFresh manager, who had previously met with the food-science professor.

The manager signed a confidentiality agreement with UPL and help it develop TruPick, a technology similar to Smartfresh.

In its verdict, the district court found that UPL had been in possession of and has misappropriated AgroFresh’s trade secrets, including those for testing protocols.

It found this misappropriation to be willful and malicious and awarded AgroFresh damages.

Additionally, it found that UPL and its subsidiary had infringed one of AgroFresh’s patents (US patent number 6,017,849), which covers the storage technology.

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