UnIP (UnIntellectual Property): Trade Secret for Manufacturer and Supplier List and Vitamin Ingredients

In resolving a motion to modify confidentiality designations made by the Defendants in a dispute between two pharmaceutical companies over deceptive advertising, among other things, a Georgia federal court held that both the names of its manufacturers and suppliers as well as the current formulation and/or ingredients of vitamins does not constitute a trade secret.  Defendant had designated both as confidential pursuant to a previously agreed upon protective order.  Plaintiff took issue with such designations.

The Court first recognized that “the identity of product manufacturers and suppliers is not generally considered to be a trade secret” because they “can be readily learned in any productive industry.”  In doing so, the Court recognized that such manufacturers and suppliers have websites describing their activities and that the general public has a right to know the source of any product it ingests.

As it relates to the ingredients in its vitamins, the Court recognized that both state and federal regulations require that companies like defendant list the ingredients in their products on the label.  Thus, it such ingredients/formulations are not confidential, let alone trade secret.

I understand the Court’s reasoning, but it must be a hard pill for defendants to swallow.

Sciele Pharma, Inc. v. Brookstone Pharmaceuticals, LLC, 1:09-CV-3283-JEC, 2010 WL 9098290 (N.D. Ga. June 23, 2010).


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