On August 12, 2019, a jury in Delaware federal court found L’Oreal USA Inc. liable for misappropriating Olaplex LLC’s trade secrets, infringing two patents relating to hair-coloring, and breaching a nondisclosure agreement between the two parties. The jury awarded $91.3 million to Olaplex. Olaplex’s victory demonstrates the importance of entering into nondisclosure agreements before disclosing potential intellectual property to a competitor – especially a large one.
This suit stems from a meeting in 2015 between L’Oreal and Olaplex to discuss a potential acquisition or licensing deal. Olaplex alleged that after the parties met, L’Oreal exploited its trade secrets and created “three knockoff versions” of products discussed during the meeting. At trial, the jury found that L’Oreal stole Olaplex’s trade secrets in violation of the nondisclosure agreement.
The jury found that L’Oreal willfully infringed both patents, leaving open the possibility of an award of increased damages.
L’Oreal hopes to remove this stain upon its reputation on appeal.