Sabinsa wins claim against competitor that exploited trade secrets

German trade court decides in Sabinsa’s favour in lawsuit against Germany-based competitor for theft of proprietary information

The Trade Court in Frankfurt, Germany has decided in favour of Sabinsa Europe in a lawsuit against a Germany-based competitor (the defendant) for theft of proprietary customer lists, technical information and other data.

The court found that a former Sabinsa employee stole Sabinsa's data and used that information for the personal benefit of himself as well as the competitor.

The court concluded that the only reason for the competitor hired the former Sabinsa employee was to gain the hard disk with the business and trade secrets.

It was clear from witness testimony that this theft was an attempt to exploit trade secrets.

The court has ordered the defendant to cease and desist using business and trade secrets belonging to Sabinsa; specifically, lists of clients, price information and analysis certificates handed to them by the former Sabinsa employee.

The competitor must also pay Sabinsa compensation for damages, as well as court costs. The competitor’s lawyers have stated that the competitor shall not challenge the judgment.

German law

German law allows for prosecution if a former or current employee with access to business and trade secrets shares them with unauthorised parties for the purpose of competition and/or self interest with an intention to cause damage in case of such blatantly unethical business practices.

The defendant in this case must destroy the information in their possession and never again hire a Sabinsa employee with the intention of gaining access to trade secrets.

Should it happen again, the defendant will pay a fine of up to €250,000 or face imprisonment of up to six months.

“It was clear from witness testimony that this theft of Sabinsa’s confidential information was utilised in an attempt to exploit our trade secrets and damage our business,” said Muhammed Majeed, Founder and Group Chair of Sami – Sabinsa.

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Sabinsa (more information, website)