Former Employee Found Guilty of Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
ATLANTA, Feb. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CP Kelco, a leading global producer of specialty hydrocolloid solutions, announced today that a California state court issued a judgment in its favor in a legal case filed against one of its ex-senior scientists, Dr. Chienkuo “Ronnie” Yuan, Director of Innovation at DSM (China) Ltd. Dr. Yuan was an employee with CP Kelco for 14 years before departing in 2014 to join DSM, a subsidiary of Royal DSM, N.V. and a competitor of CP Kelco in the gellan gum industry.
In July 2015, CP Kelco filed a Complaint against Dr. Yuan in San Diego Superior Court, following several attempts to address CP Kelco’s legitimate concerns that the Company’s intellectual property may have been used for the benefit of DSM by Dr. Yuan.
On August 24, 2017, a 12-member jury returned a verdict in favor of CP Kelco on all causes of action, and the State court issued a judgment in accordance with the jury verdict. The verdict specifically found that Dr. Yuan had misappropriated CP Kelco’s trade secrets and used or disclosed those trade secrets with third parties. Further, the jury found that Dr. Yuan breached his confidentiality agreement and duty of loyalty to CP Kelco. The jury also determined that Dr. Yuan knowingly accessed CP Kelco’s computer systems in order to wrongfully obtain CP Kelco property. Finally, the jury found that CP Kelco was entitled to punitive damages for Dr. Yuan’s willful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets.
In its Statement of Decision on Punitive Damages, “the court conclude[d], as the jury evidently did, that [Dr. Yuan] assembled internal CP Kelco documents and emailed them to himself (and then to DropBox) not for the purpose of advising on production issues in the waning days of his time in San Diego, but rather so that he would be able to ‘shorten the runway’ once he took up his new employment.”
“This legal case demonstrates CP Kelco’s commitment to taking the appropriate actions to ensure our intellectual property and our employees’ work products are safeguarded from improper and unfair use in the marketplace,” said Didier Viala, President of CP Kelco. “With our rich heritage of technological and product innovation, our global team continues to raise the bar in providing ingredient solutions that meet the evolving needs of our regional markets and customers.”
About CP Kelco
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and part of J.M. Huber Corporation, CP Kelco is a leading producer of specialty hydrocolloids with offices and facilities across the globe. Featuring an extensive range of hydrocolloid solutions and serving over 100 countries, CP Kelco leverages its capabilities to bring concepts and ideas to real-world products in a broad range of applications. The company’s specialty ingredients touch a wide variety of consumer and household products and industrial applications, tailored to meet the needs of regional consumers. Key product lines are Gellan Gum, Pectin, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Diutan Gum and Microparticulated Whey Protein Concentrate, as well as other unique biopolymers. Contact CP Kelco today for more information.
About KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum
CP Kelco introduced KELCOGEL Gellan Gum to the industry almost 30 years ago. We have deep experience with this versatile, high-performance ingredient in application segments ranging from food and beverage to personal care and pharmaceuticals. Gellan gum can be used at low levels in a wide variety of products that require gelling, texturizing, stabilizing, suspending, film-forming and structuring.