After a week-long David and Goliath battle, L'Oréal has been found liable of poaching indie hair care brand Olaplex’s trade secrets.
A jury in Delaware, US, found that the French beauty giant had infringed upon two of Olaplex’s parents and breached a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Officially launched in June 2014, Olaplex quickly gained popularity among stylists and celebrities for its patented technology that aims to protect bleached hair.
But according to the disruptor brand, the French giant stole confidential details of its three-step system during takeover talks in 2015.
Olaplex claimed L'Oréal created three of its own product versions: Matrix Bond Ultim8 Step 1 Amplifier, Redken pH-Bonder #1 Bond Protecting Additive and L’Oréal Professionnel Smartbond Step 1 Additive products.
The awarded damages Olaplex will receive are still being finalised, but the current estimate is around US$91m.
Olaplex first filed a lawsuit against L'Oréal in 2016 for patent infringement and false advertising, arguing that the 110-year-old company tried to unsuccessfully “hire away” Olaplex’s key employees deemed responsible for the brand’s development and formula.
In June 2018, Olaplex defeated L'Oréal in the UK High Court for infringing the patent for its Bond Multiplier hair lightening product.