IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. Sues Former Employees for Disclosing Trade Secret Information

On Monday, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the District of Maine against Graham Bilbrough and Melissa LaPointe alleging violations of federal and Maine trade secret law. 

According to the complaint, IDEXX is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Maine that develops, manufactures, and distributes products and services for the companion animal veterinary, livestock and poultry, water testing and dairy sectors. The complaint further states that the two defendants are residents of Maine, spouses and former employees of IDEXX, with Bilbrough being employed by IDEXX from October 2006 until his resignation in January 2022 and LaPoint from July 2004 until her resignation in February 2022. 

The complaint states that IDEXX has and continues to make substantial investments of time and resources to develop, market and sell its products and services to the veterinary sector and as a result IDEXX has become a world leader in veterinary diagnostics. Further, the plaintiff states that it zealously guards its trade secret information regarding its products and business strategies including marking sensitive documents as “confidential,” limiting access to trade secrets and requiring employees to abide by a Code of Ethics to safeguard confidential information from public disclosure. 

The complaint purports that during the defendants’ employment with IDEXX they each held a variety of high level roles that allowed them access to confidential and proprietary information  regarding IDEXX’s internal product strategy, product design, chemistry and functionality, marketing strategy and development plans. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants decided to jointly resign from their positions at IDEXX and despite repeated requests from IDEXX colleagues and supervisors, Bilbrough and LaPointe each refused to disclose the identity of their new employer.

The plaintiff alleges that just a few days after the defendant’s resigned they began working for a direct competitor, Antech. The plaintiffs further allege that Bilbrough is working in a role for Antech that is substantively identical to his role at IDEXX, that would make it impossible for him to work on Antech’s products without disclosing and using IDEXX’s trade secrets.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that LaPoint is now working as a product manager for Antech on its soon-to-launch point-of-care hematology solution after working on IDEXX’s point-of-care hematology products and having access to trade secrets related to those products. IDEXX argues that her current role at Antech makes it impossible for her not to disclose and use IDEXX’s trade secrets.

Further, the plaintiff argues that LaPoint’s employment at he current role at Antech is in direct breach of a Non-Compete Agreement she signed on July 6, 2004 which states she may not work for a direct competitor of IDEXX for 2 years after the voluntary termination of her employment with IDEXX. 

IDEXX states that the inevitable disclosure of its trade secret information by the defendants will give Antech an unfair competitive advantage and cause irreparable harm to IDEXX. Consequently, IDEXX filed the present suit alleging violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and the Maine Uniform Trade Secrets Act and breach of contract against LaPoint. The plaintiff seeks injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief. The plaintiff is represented by Verrill Dana LLP and Nixon Peabody LLP.