Henessey Food Consulting, LLC claimed in a complaint filed in the Northern District of New York on Thursday that Prinova Solutions LLC breached its contract by attempting to use Henessey Food’s trade secrets to sell antioxidant products directly to customers. Henessey Food is a company that “specializes in solving browning for fresh-cut produce,” according to the complaint, the company contracted with Prinova to manufacture antioxidant solutions for Henessey to sell.
“Pursuant to agreements between the parties, Prinova was obligated to maintain the confidentiality of Henessey Food’s proprietary and trade secret information, including but not limited to the composition of Henessey Food’s proprietary antioxidant solutions, information about Henessey Food’s customers, and information about Henessey Food’s sales volumes and the market for Henessey Food’s products,” the plaintiff stated.
The plaintiff said its antioxidant solutions to browning in cut fruit and other produce were uniquely developed by the company’s owner, Jeremy Dygert, and alleges that its strategies are trade secrets. Henessey Foods spent “at least $375,000” developing the solutions to browning. The company sells its products to food companies, and typically contracts with manufacturers, like Prinova, to make the products and deliver them to Henessey Foods.
The company claimed that Prinova had not made or sold antioxidant products before the two began their contract near the beginning of 2018, which required Prinova to protect the formula’s confidentiality and sign a Mutual Confidentiality Agreement.
Despite this agreement, Prinova allegedly reached out to Henessey’s potential customers, Peterson Farms and Crunch Pak, offering to supply similar antioxidant products directly to the farms. The defendant also allegedly reached out to Del Monte to offer direct sale of their antioxidant products. Prinova allegedly admitted to the plaintiff in a business meeting on July 11, 2019, that it had reached out to the three companies and secured a contract with Crunch Pak to provide antioxidant products after Henessey Foods told the defendants they were seeking the contract.
“Prinova would not have invested in the development of the antioxidant products it sold or attempted to sell to Crunch Pak, Peterson Farms and Del Monte, if Prinova had not used Henessey Food’s proprietary and trade secret information, including but not limited to the composition of Henessey Food’s proprietary antioxidant solutions, information about Henessey Food’s customers, and information about Henessey Food’s sales volumes and the market for Henessey Food’s products,” the complaint claimed.
The plaintiffs claim they should receive damages and an enjoinment stopping Prinova from selling antioxidant products or using trade secrets because of the defendant’s breach of contract, unfair competition practices, and misuse of trade secrets.