For the second time in less than a year, PVC compounder AlphaGary Corp. of Leominster, Mass., has won a trade-secret theft action against a competitor.
Newline Color Inc., a specialty compounder in nearby Fitchburg, Mass., and part-owner Gregory Gitto pleaded guilty Feb. 4 in Worcester County (Mass.) District Court to a charge of storing an unlawfully taken trade secret. According to court records, the incident took place in June 2000.
An AlphaGary spokesman declined to offer details of the incident that resulted in the charge, but did confirm that Gitto worked for AlphaGary for several years in the 1990s.
A court order accompanying the guilty plea bans Gitto from AlphaGary property for two years, and also requires him to certify that he has no AlphaGary documents during that time.
In a March 18 news release, AlphaGary Managing Director Bob Gingue said his company ``will vigorously protect our intellectual property and industry position.''
Gregory Gitto could not be reached for comment. Newline Color employs 18, according to a recent plastics directory put out by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.
Previously, AlphaGary successfully pursued a case against Jeffrey Forgues for trying to buy trade secrets from the firm in 1998 and 1999. Forgues pleaded guilty to that charge in October 2002 and was sentenced to two months in jail and two years of supervised release.
The Department of Justice, which prosecuted the case, said Forgues was an employee of specialty compounder Gitto Global Corp. of Lunenburg, Mass., when he committed the crime. Gitto Global officials later claimed Forgues was a former employee who was not working for Gitto Global when he illegally contacted AlphaGary.
Gitto Global has no business connection to either Gregory Gitto or Newline Color, although there is a family link. Gregory Gitto's father, Sam, founded Newline Color, while his uncle Charles - Sam Gitto's brother - founded Gitto Global.
AlphaGary is one of North America's largest PVC compounders and produces compounds based on thermoplastic elastomers, nylon, polyurethane and other materials. The firm operates plants in Leominster; Pineville, N.C.; Stoney Creek, Ontario; and Melton Mowbray, England.
New York-based buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP bought AlphaGary and several related businesses from Laporte plc of London in 2000. KKR operates AlphaGary as part of its Rockwood Specialties Inc. unit based in Princeton, N.J.