How do you like them apples?

Cider hut at Leeds Castle Christmas Market.

The latest in our “trade secrets are everywhere” mantra…

Soon after we wrote about trade secrets in liquor production, we have a widely-reported trade secret misappropriation incident between beer & cider manufacturers.

A manager of IT, sales, and business analysis for Boston Beer Co. (maker of Sam Adams and Angry Orchard) voluntarily left the company in April 2023 to join Downeast Cider House as Senior VP of Marketing.

Boston Beer warned him that joining Downeast Cider would violate his employment agreement. They also notified the founder of Downeast Cider that if they hire the individual, he will be in breach of his pre-existing employment agreement.

Just before leaving, our intrepid IT manager connected an external device to his company computer and accessed files including market plans, sales performance, pricing guides, budgets, and branding documents.

Boston Beer sued both the individual and Downeast in October 2023 for a long laundry list of causes including: breach of non-compete, non-disclosure, a training repayment clause, intentional interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment. Boston Beer also asked for a preliminary injunction preventing the individual from working for Downeast for one year and to not disclose Boston Beer’s confidential information.

Interestingly the complaint was not filed in federal court under DTSA, but instead was filed in Massachusetts state courts under UTSA. This litigation is just getting up to speed, and will be interesting watch while enjoying the hard cider of your choice…

Read the complaint here:

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