Bloomberg BusinessWeek is reporting that a unit of Synthes Inc., a leading maker of bone-related medical devices, accused Stryker Corp. in a federal lawsuit of raiding its San Francisco sales force and using confidential information from former employees.
Stryker seeks to obtain “an improper competitive advantage” in the industry for medical implants and instruments used in spinal surgery, Synthes USA Sales LLC said in the complaint filed today in federal court in Philadelphia. Synthes also accused three former sales employees of misappropriating trade secrets and breaching their contractual and fiduciary obligations to the company. The former employees resigned from Synthes from August to early October, according to the complaint. They immediately began working for Stryker, one of the company’s direct competitors, and are soliciting former customers, according to the court filing.
Synthes, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was purchased by Johnson & Johnson in April of 2011 for $21.3 billion. We note that the employees are based in California but the suit has been filed in federal court in Pennsylvania. We forecast that the employees and Stryker will be arguing regarding the proper choice of law for this dispute, as California law and Pennsylvania law are rather different when it comes to the mobility of employees and what employees can and can't do having executed a contract restricting their post-resignation activities.
We'll keep an eye on this one for you.