PolyOne Corp. has lost its trade-secret case against Cary Compounds LLC.
PolyOne, the Cleveland firm that ranks as North America's largest compounder, had accused Cary co-owner Ken Cary of taking at least a dozen PVC compound formulations in 1995 when he left Synergistics Inc., a Mississauga, Ontario-based compounder that Geon Co. acquired in 1997. Geon merged with M.A. Hanna Co. last year to form PolyOne.
PolyOne later reduced its original suit against Cary to cover only two formulations. The firm also dropped charges that Cary took market information and customer lists from Synergistics and recruited employees to his Dayton, N.J.-based firm from a Synergistics plant in Farmingdale, N.J.
In her June 27 ruling in New Jersey Superior Court, Judge Rosemary Reavey said the formulations PolyOne accused Cary of taking were not difficult to develop or duplicate. She also ruled that the formulations had not been guarded or given to Cary in confidence.
According to Cary, defending himself in the case prevented him from growing his business, which posted sales of $18 million last year. If Reavey had awarded PolyOne the full $5 million it reportedly was seeking, Cary said it would have been difficult for his firm to stay in business.
Cary added that he was relieved at Reavey's ruling.
``I had said all along that this was information anyone could get their hands on,'' he said.
Dennis Cocco, a PolyOne spokesman, said the company strongly disagrees with Reavey's ruling. He added that the company's lawyers are analyzing the decision and executives have not decided whether to appeal.