THE WHAT? A Californian court has ruled that L’Oréal must answer to claims that it used collaborative talks to discover the secret behind a patented dye delivery system developed by Metricolor and then produced a copycat range under its Redken brand.
THE DETAILS The complaint was originally filed by Metricolor in January 2018, charging the French beauty giant with patent infringement, breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of confidence, among others after the pair engaged in talks with a view to a possible acquisition of licensing of Metricolor’s patented system in 2014. Negotiations were terminated by L’Oréal in June, 2016 and, in September of that year, the French beauty giant launched two new products under its Matrix and Redken brands that, allegedly, ‘specifically include and directly advertise Metricolor’s components’.
L’Oréal then filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted by the district court in April, 2018, prompting Metricolor to appeal to the Federal Circuit. Metricolor’s motion to amend its complaint was allowed, and the case was reassigned to the district court in December, 2019.
THE WHY? The Californian court dismissed Metricolor’s fifth claim for breach of confidence without prejudice but denied L’Oréal’s motion to dismiss in all other respects, meaning the French beauty giant will need to answer Metricolor’s allegations.