L’Oréal looks set to avoid paying a multi-million dollar sum in damages to hair care rival Olaplex.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a final judgement awarding Olaplex US$66m, including attorney’s fees, for trade secrets misappropriation, breach of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and patent infringement.
In August 2020, a jury in Delaware, US, found the French beauty giant guilty of infringing upon two of Olaplex’s hair bonding technology patents and breaching an NDA.
Then, in December, a US judge told L’Oréal that it could not have a new trial to avoid payment to Olaplex amounting to nearly $50m in damages and $14m in legal fees and costs incurred by Olaplex.
But last week, on 6 May, the Court of Appeals concluded that no reasonable jury could have found that L’Oréal misappropriated a trade secret or used confidential Olaplex information in violation of the NDA; after considering all four of Olaplex’s alleged trade secrets, the Court found that none had actually been proven as trade secrets.
The Federal Circuit has remanded for a new trial regarding whether L’Oréal’s products infringed claims 14-16 of the U.S. Patent No. 9,668,954 (the ’954 patent).
The Court noted that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had previously invalidated all the other asserted claims of the ‘954 patent and the Federal Circuit had affirmed that ruling.
The PTAB had also invalidated another asserted patent, a ruling that Olaplex did not appeal.