Mar 14

Pfizer Sues Ex-Marketing Director Over Trade Secret Theft

By By Dan Packel | 28 February 2017


Pfizer Inc. on Tuesday accused a former global marketing director who voluntarily resigned in January of misappropriating the company’s trade secrets, asking a Pennsylvania federal judge for an emergency restraining order to protect the information.
The company said that Aimee De Blasis Amman sent at least 42 emails containing confidential information to her personal account and copied 600 files to a USB drive before her departure.

“Amman’s refusal to inform Pfizer whether she planned to work for a competitor after her employment with Pfizer ended leads Pfizer to reasonably believe that she intends to provide Pfizer’s confidential information to a competitor,” the company said in its complaint.

According to the complaint, Amman began working for Pfizer in 2006 and rose to the position of global marketing director at the company’s Collegeville, Pennsylvania, office. She was responsible for marketing the rheumatoid arthritis medication Xeljanz.

The company said this position gave her access to sensitive data about the indications and treatment of patients with the condition. She also led the company’s strategic planning over the marketing of the drug, giving her access to budgets, earnings and market research.

Pfizer said that Amman was bound by an employment agreement signed when she started at the company to not disclose any confidential information and to return it at the end of her employment.

In spite of that, according to the company, Amman used the days before she tendered her resignation on Jan. 3 to forward at least 42 emails to her personal account, in violation of the company’s “Acceptable Use of Information Systems Policy.” These emails contained documents purportedly including some of the company’s most sensitive information about its product launches and strategic planning.

Pfizer said that it also discovered that on Jan. 2, less than 24 hours before resigning, Amman had hooked up a portable USB drive to her work computer and downloaded 600 of the company’s confidential files.

“The information and documents misappropriated by Amman provide a detailed roadmap to Pfizer’s goals and how Pfizer specifically expects to implement these goals, both in the near term (i.e., the next 12 months) and the long term (i.e., the next 3-5 years),” the company said.

It added that the material touches on the governmental approval process for multiple drugs in multiple countries across the world.

“If Pfizer’s competitors in the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry were able to review this information, competitors would be placed at a distinct and unfair advantage to Pfizer in the pharmaceutical marketplace,” the company said.

It is seeking an emergency temporary restraining order that would bar Amman from releasing any of the confidential information and force her to return the company’s intellectual property.

U.S. District Judge Nitza Quinones Alejandro, who was assigned the case and the restraining order, did not issue a ruling on the matter before the end of the business day Tuesday.


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