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WEXLER v. GREENBERG (05/04/60)

May 4, 1960

WEXLER
v.
GREENBERG, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 308, 309, 310 and 311, Jan. T., 1959, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1957, No. 2147, in case of Irving Wexler et al. v. Alvin Greenberg et al. Decree reversed.

COUNSEL

Earl Jay Gratz, for appellants.

Michael H. Egnal, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and McBRIDE, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 399 Pa. Page 571]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN.

Appellees, trading as Buckingham Wax Company, filed a complaint in equity to enjoin Brite Products Co., Inc., and its officers, Greenberg, Dickler and Ford, appellants, from disclosing and using certain formulas and processes pertaining to the manufacture of certain sanitation and maintenance chemicals, allegedly trade secrets. After holding lengthy hearings, the chancellor concluded that the four formulas involved are trade secrets which appellant Greenberg disclosed in contravention of his duty of nondisclosure arising from his confidential relationship with Buckingham. He decreed that appellants, jointly and severally, be enjoined permanently from disclosing the formulas or processes or any substantially similar formulas and from making or selling the resulting products. He also ordered an accounting for losses. After the dismissal by the court en banc of appellants' exceptions to the chancellor's findings of fact and conclusions of law, the chancellor's decree was made final and this appeal followed.

Buckingham Wax Company is engaged in the manufacture, compounding and blending of sanitation and

[ 399 Pa. Page 572]

    maintenance chemicals. In March, 1949, appellant Greenberg, a qualified chemist in the sanitation and maintenance field,*fn1 entered the employ of Buckingham as its chief chemist and continued there until April 28, 1957. In the performance of his duties, Greenberg consumed half of his working time in Buckingham's laboratory where he would analyze and duplicate competitors' products and then use the resulting information to develop various new formulas. He would change or modify these formulas for color, odor or viscosity in order that greater commercial use could be made of Buckingham's products. The remainder of his time was spent in ordering necessary materials and interviewing chemical salesmen concerning new, better or cheaper ingredients for the multitude of products produced by Buckingham so that costs could be lowered and quality increased. As a result of his activities Greenberg was not only familiar with Buckingham's formulas, he was also fully conversant with the costs of the products and the most efficient method of producing them.

Appellant Brite Products Co., Inc., is a Pennsylvania corporation organized on or about August 1,

[ 399 Pa. Page 5731956]

, when it succeeded to the business, formerly operated by appellant Dickler, known as "Gem Shine Sales Co." From October, 1952, to August, 1956, Dickler and Brite, in unbroken succession, did most of their purchasing from Buckingham; and from August, 1956, until August 20, 1957, the date of Brite's last order, Brite exclusively purchased Buckingham's manufactured products. These products were in turn distributed by Brite to its customers, mostly industrial users, marked with labels which identified said products as ...


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