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Of Death, Taxes, Nooks, and Crannies

Posted by Frank Steinberg | Feb 22, 2010 | 0 Comments

They say that nothing is inevitable in life except for death and taxes.  To that list we now have to add nooks and crannies.  Yes, those things that make up the deliciously irregular innards of one of my favorite breakfast foods, Thomas' English Muffins.

Long story short, Chris Botticella was an employee of Bimbo Bakeries, which now owns Thomas', and one of a handful of people who know the secret formula for the nooks and crannies.  (I'm reminded of the crucial ingredient for the "secret rocket fuel" from Rocky and Bullwinkle, but that's just me.)  Botticella accepted an offer to work for rival baker Hostess.  I have some fond childhood memories involving their products, too.

Anyway, Bimbo sued for an injunction to stop Botticella from working for Hostess due to their concern that he would "inevitably disclose" to his new employer the recipe for the secret rocket fuel . . . er  . . . the nooks and crannies, and thus damage Bimbo's business. 

Inevitable disclosure is a doctrine of trade secret law that proceeds from the premise that an ex-employee of one company who knows trade secrets, and takes a job with a competitor, simply will not will not be able to keep his mouth shut in his new job.  It's not as easy to prove as it sounds, but in some cases it works.  Like this one.  The court granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.  Here's a copy of the order.

This is not my first legal exposure to the great nooks and crannies secret.  Although I've lost the details in the mists of time, I distinctly recall a nooks and crannies TRO application coming before the judge for whom I was clerking back in the late 1970's.

Well, all of this is fine, as long as no one starts stealing the recipe for Butterscotch Krimpets.  Of wait, they were made by Tastykake.  At least Bimbo and Hostess won't be at each other's throats over them.

About the Author

Frank Steinberg

Frank is the founder and principal of Steinberg Law, LLC. A Jersey boy born and bred, he focuses on employment litigation and counseling, business litigation,  and aviation law. Following law school and a clerkship in the federal district court Frank spent his early career with large litigation ...

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