An ex-employee leaked trade secrets of Pfizer


Palak Arora 26/11/21 #Trademarks #Copyrights #Patents #intellectualproperty #IPR #IPRinfo #IPlaw #IPRrights #Trademarkclickcom #IP #entrepreneur #TradeSecrets #Pfizer #BioNTech #covid19 #vaccine #Xencor #NewYork #California #SanDiego

Pfizer Inc. has recently sued its longtime employee for allegedly stealing numerous confidential documents that include some of the most important secrets related to its COVID-19 vaccine. A complaint was filed on November 23, 2021, in San Diego Federal Court. Pfizer said, “Chun Xiao Li breached her confidentiality agreement by uploading more than 12,000 files without permission to her personal accounts and devices from her company-issued laptop.”

The alleged materials include the following:

  • September 24 playbook containing all internal assessments and several recommendations about the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine,
  • Relationship between Pfizer and its German vaccine partner, and
  • Presentations regarding cancer antibodies.

The New York-based vaccine manufacturer, Pfizer said, “Li who is an Associate Director of Statistics tried repeatedly to cover her tracks, even providing a decoy laptop to fool it into thinking what she did with the files. Li has misled Pfizer about what she took, how she took it, when and why she did it, and where those files (and possibly others) can be found.”

Pfizer further said that Li was resigning at the company that too after 15 years of being associated with them, and it also appeared that she was having an offer to join Xencor Inc. Xencor is a California clinical-stage company that focuses on treating cancer and several autoimmune diseases. Li was not immediately be reached for her comment but the media reached her through her LinkedIn account. However, Xencor has not been listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. It also declined to comment. Pfizer said that competitors had been trying to recruit its active employees relentlessly and especially during the year 2021.

The U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo is hearing this matter. She temporarily passed orders in which she blocked Li from using Pfizer's trade secrets and further directed the company’s lawyers to review her accounts and devices where she might have stored them. The judge has kept the matter for hearing on December 09, 2021, to consider a longer injunction. Trade secrets are such techniques or devices which are used in manufacturing some products which cannot be used by anyone else without any permission from the company owning such trade secrets.

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