Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 4/26/2006 11:12:00 AM

Those Pesky E-Mails Will Get You Every Time

By Todd
Zinco-Sherman, Inc. is a company that developed a reduced sugar sweetener product known as REPLACE. Adept Food Solutions is a company that went into discussions with Zinco-Sherman about potentially manufacturing this product for Zinco-Sherman in Texas. Russell Bianchi is Adept Food's President.

Apparently the Zinco-Sherman/Adept Foods relationship broke down but only after Zinco-Sherman had disclosed its REPLACE formulation to Adept Foods for its consideration of the potential partnership. Unbelievably, Zinco-Sherman did not require Adept Foods to execute a nondisclosure agreement prior sharing the REPLACE formula with them.

After the potential relationship broke down, Mr. Bianchi of Adept Foods wrote an e-mail to the President of Zinco-Sherman in which he advised "therefore, it is my decision to take my formula, develop a new team, if or when possible, and move forward with a business plan of my own creation." This e-mail must have struck Zinco-Sherman as weird and misguided, because apparently Zinco-Sherman spent nine years funding the research and development of REPLACE.

Zinco-Sherman sued Adept Foods and Mr. Bianchi and was able to obtain a preliminary injunction against the defendants on grounds that they had misappropriated Zinco-Sherman's trade secrets under Texas state law and needed to be stopped. As readers of this blog know, sometimes the mere acquisition of a trade secret and attendant threat of use is enough to obtain injunctive relief from a court on grounds of misappropriation of that trade secret. And that is what the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas found - that Mr. Bianchi's e-mail was sufficient evidence for it to enter a strong preliminary injunction. One has to wonder - why did Mr. Bianchi write this incriminating e-mail? We have to figure he wanted it to stick it in the eye of Zinco-Sherman, but only he knows for sure.

We know this - those pesky e-mails will get you every time. The case is cited as Zinco-Sherman, Inc. v. Adept Food Solutions, Inc., 2006 WL 1061917 (April 21, 2006 S.D. Tex.).


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