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Former Abbott Labs VP Took Covid Trade Secrets, Company Alleges

Key on a sheet with encrypted data

November 13, 2020

In a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Abbott Laboratories has accused a former VP of “absconding to a competitor with Abbott’s confidential information and trade secrets.” The lawsuit alleges Jerome Clavel both downloaded and forwarded to his own email information about the company’s plans in the area of diagnostics, including diagnostics for COVID-19. At the same time, the lawsuit claims, he was hiding his intention to immediately go to work for a California-based diagnostics company, a move that Abbott maintains was prohibited by its employment agreement. “The conclusion is inescapable,” says Abbott’s motion for a temporary restraining order. “Clavel is planning to join a competitor as a top marketing executive, and he’s planning to take Abbott’s confidential information and trade secrets with him.” Clavel denies the downloading allegations, according to a post in the trade publication BioSpace, which also suggests that more trade secret litigation is in the offing industry-wide, as a result of a combination of factors: the COVD pandemic, a trend toward greater employee mobility, and more work being done from the virtual home office.

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