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Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. v. John J. Reynolds, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
178 F. Supp. 655 (S.D.N.Y. 1959)


Facts

Dr. J.J. Lawrence (defendant), predecessor to John J. Reynolds, Inc. (Reynolds) (defendant), licensed the formula for Listerine to Dr. Lambert, predecessor to Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. (Lambert) (plaintiff). The licensing contract stated that Dr. Lambert and his successors in interest would pay a monthly royalty to Dr. Lawrence and his successors in interest for as long as Lambert sold Listerine. At some point, the formula for Listerine became public. Lambert brought suit against Reynolds, seeking a declaratory ruling that because the formula was no longer a trade secret, Lambert no longer had to pay royalties under the original contract. Lambert argued, among other things, that licenses involving trade secrets should be treated in the same way as licenses for copyrights or patents.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bryan, J.)

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