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Global Flavor Company Must Share Sales Info

(CN) - A multibillion dollar fragrance company must provide its competitor with marketing information for its patent-pending product Tru2Nature, a federal judge ruled.

Since the 19th century, New York-based International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) has created flavors and fragrances consumed by millions worldwide, according to its website.

Established in December 2008 and based in Branchburg, N.J., ZoomEssence delivers "liquid quality flavors and ingredients in a powder form-as it should taste" using patent-pending DriZoom technology, according to its website.

ZoomEssence CEO Robert Corbett formerly filled a number of executive positions at International Flavors, including president of the flavor division.

The younger company claims that International Flavors misused ZoomEssence's proprietary information and technology to create Tru2Nature, for which a patent application was submitted in June 2011.

ZoomEssence filed a federal complaint against International Flavors in New Jersey, alleging misappropriation of a trade secret, breach of contract, bad faith, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

In October 2012, ZoomEssence issued several subpoenas seeking Tru2Nature sales and marketing information.

International Flavors objected, claiming lack of notice, and the court declined to quash the subpoenas on Nov. 20, ordering the parties to respond by Dec. 14.

International Flavors then moved to quash or stay compliance with the subpoenas and for related relief.

ZoomEssence opposed and moved to bifurcate.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne Bongiovanni refused to stay discovery last week.

"The cases that are cited by IFF are ones in which the court had already determined that bifurcation was warranted," Bongiovanni wrote. "The court is unpersuaded that this reasoning should further extend to cases where bifurcation is merely pending, especially given that there is a genuine factual dispute as to whether the subpoenas are designed to obtain evidence as to liability or damages, or both."

The court also would not let International Flavors deem subpoena-related documents "For Outside Counsel's Eyes Only" (FOCO) for at least 30 days.

"As has been noted, every third party which has produced documents in this matter has designated same as FOCO," the ruling states. "There is no reason given by IFF why it suspects that the third parties would not designate their production as FOCO."

Finding that the third parties may not share International Flavors' confidentiality concerns, however, Bongiovanni deemed FOCO for 14 days any production made by a third party.

International Flavors reported that its sales surpassed $2.8 billion in 2012.

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