Clopay Plastics Products Co. is alleging Berry Plastics Group Inc. stole trade secrets involving its breathable film technology used for baby and adult diapers.
Berry, for its part, expressed disappointment that Clopay decided to file a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery, indicating it returned the documents in question after discovering their existence.
Clopay, of Mason, Ohio, alleges Berry was unable to equal Clopay's breathable film performance.
“There was a pervasive and widespread attempt by Berry Plastics from the outset to misappropriate and improperly utilize Clopay's confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets,” a portion of the lawsuit states.
“Berry Plastics (or its predecessor in interest, Pliant Corp.) specifically targeted and recruited multiple employees and a consultant who had knowledge of Clopay's breathable film technology,” the lawsuit alleges.
“One of Clopay's former employees who assisted Berry Plastics actually removed from Clopay over 100 pages of confidential and trade secret documents that embody key aspects of Clopay's secret formulations, design, processing manufacturing techniques, and suppliers,” the lawsuit continues to allege.
But Berry, in a statement, said it took action once it discovered there was an issue.
“We discovered that a Berry Plastics employee retained some Clopay documents when the employee left Clopay's employment and went to work for one of Berry's predecessors, which Berry Plastics acquired. We informed Clopay of this situation and returned the documents to them,” the statement reads.
“Berry Plastics disputes the allegations made by Clopay in its complaint and we will vigorously defend ourselves through the appropriate legal process,” the company said. “Berry Plastics is disappointed that Clopay has chosen to file this lawsuit.”
Clopay alleges in the lawsuit that once Berry's possession of the documents “came to light” the company “began a program of damage control” and returned the material, falsely saying they were not used.
Delaware is a popular corporate home thanks to its laws that are viewed to be favorable to businesses.
The state Court of Chancery, according to its website, “is widely recognized as the nation's pre-eminent forum for the determination of disputes involving internal affairs of thousands upon thousands of Delaware corporations and other business entities.”
A lawyer representing Clopay declined to comment.
Berry, of Evansville, Ind., acquired Pliant in 2009 after Plaint filed for bankruptcy court protection. Clopay Plastics is owned by Griffon Corp., which also operates garage door maker Clopay Building Products and landscape products company Ames.