Kretek International, Modoral and Swedish Match have settled a legal dispute relating to nicotine pouch trade secrets, reports Law360.
In 2020, Swedish Match alleged that Kretek and its subsidiary Dryft Sciences, as well as Modoral, misappropriated six trade secrets concerning the manufacturing and formulation of nicotine pouches.
The defendants all denied Swedish Match’s claims and said they don’t owe the company any damages.
Swedish Match sells nicotine pouch products under the name Zyn based on U.S. Patent No. 9,161,908 and trade secrets that it bought from Swedish nicotine company TillCe. According to Swedish Match, one of TillCe’s affiliates in 2016 breached its agreements with Swedish Match by selling the trade secrets to Kretek, which formed Dryft Sciences to sell products in competition with Swedish Match.
Kretek then formed Dryft Sciences to sell products that misappropriated Swedish Match’s trade secrets, the complaint states.
In November 2020, BAT—which owns Modoral’s parent company Reynolds American—bought Dryft Sciences’ nicotine pouch business and its product line.
After Swedish Match informed BAT that it owned the U.S. patent and other trade secret information, Modoral filed a declaratory judgment action for noninfringement and also sought invalidity of the patent as well as for no misappropriation of Swedish Match’s trade secrets, the complaint states.
On Jan. 19, U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. entered partial judgment in favor of Modoral, finding that Swedish Match couldn’t establish that Modoral’s accused product infringed any of the asserted claims of the patent.
In their trial briefs filed earlier this month, Modoral and Kretek both argued that Swedish Match can’t sustain its trade secret misappropriation claims because its alleged trade secrets aren’t actually secret.