Marquis Sues Novozymes on Trade Secrets
Marquis ProCap System filed a lawsuit on Jan. 14 in the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois against Novozymes North America and Green Plains to stop the misappropriation of its trade secrets.
The filing relates to a mutual confidentiality agreement that Marquis entered into with Novozymes in June 2019.
According to a UK-based trade journal, the two firms had explored around October 2018 the possibility of Novozymes joining Marquis in a joint venture. Marquis had developed a proprietary process known as ProCap, which made products from thin stillage from its ethanol process.
The lawsuit said that “at all times there was an understanding, expectation, and agreement of confidentiality between the parties” and detailed a series of meetings between the two companies, at least one of which was at the site where the ProCap process was operational and R&D functions were being performed.
The suit added that during October and November, Marquis provided confidential information on ProCap to Novozymes and was subsequently “shocked” when the latter announced last month that it was entering into an agreement with US ethanol producer Green Plains to develop microbial processes to generate ingredients for aquaculture and pet food.
As there were only 4 days between a last meeting on Dec. 12 between Marquis and Novozymes and the Green Plains announcement, Marquis said it was a “safe and logical assumption” that Novozymes was negotiating with Green Plains while also dealing with itself under false pretenses.
Marquis has asked for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against both Novozymes and Green Plains for using or disclosing its ProCap trade secrets along with another injunction requiring the defendants to return information and materials relating to the process.