Purse Seine Holdings, LLC v. Starkist Co. (17-cv-11186).

  • June 25, 2018

Pure Pest filed suit against Tick Pro MV, LLC and Troy Hobby, Tick Pro’s controlling member and a former Pure Pest employee.  Pure Pest was formed in 2005 with the goal of creating more environmentally sustainable tick and mosquito treatments.  The company created a proprietary tick prevention product, known as PROGAEA.  Pure Pest obtained federal trademark registrations to PROGAEA, as well as to PURE and PURE SOLUTIONS.  Troy Hobby was employed by Pure in 2017 to run its field operations on Martha’s Vineyard.  He executed a non-compete agreement with Pure upon his hiring, that prevented him from directly competing in Massachusetts and prohibited him from soliciting Pure customers through April 28, 2022.  The agreement further included confidentiality provisions to run for a period of ten years.  Notably, the agreement was entered into before the 2018 enactment of limitations on employee noncompete agreements, and thus is not subject to these limitations.

Pure entered into a license agreement with Hobby’s business, Tick Pro MV, in 2018 that likewise contained confidentiality provisions to protect Pure’s confidential and trade secret information, including customer lists.  These provision survived Pure’s termination of the license in October 2020.

Pure asserts that, rather than cease using the marks, Hobby and Tick Pro MV continued to compete with and solicit clients of Pure, utilizing the Pure marks and trade secret information.  Pure brings counts for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract and violation of c. 93A.

The case is before Judge Talwani.

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