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Panera Sues Papa John’s for Hiring Former Panera Executive
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Summary: Panera filed a lawsuit against Papa John’s and a former executive  for attempting to steal trade secrets.

Super delicious bakery Panera is suing Super Bowl party staple Papa John’s for stealing trade secrets. Panera said that when their former executive Michael Nettles left the soup and sandwich world for pizza he took along with him confidential data.

  
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Nettles worked for four years as Vice President of Panera’s information technology division. Panera said in that role he had access to proprietary information and trade secrets. When he began working at Kentucky-based Papa John’s on Monday, Panera said he violated a confidentiality and non-compete agreement.

Consumerist reports that Nettles had voluntarily signed a non-compete agreement with a list of companies he could not work at for a year. Papa John’s was included on this list, but despite that, Nettles took the position even after being denied permission from Panera.

“Given the important role Nettles played in implementing [proprietary] programs, he was also privy to all of Panera’s high-level discussions concerning its vision for how to continue to use technology to its advantage in the future. In other words, Nettles intimately knows Panera’s strategic technology plan for the next few years,” the lawsuit stated.

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Papa John’s responded to the lawsuit, stating that Nettles has worked at numerous hospitality and retail companies during his 27-year career. The pizza giant said they were disappointed that Panera would sue as they did not view them as a competitor business.

“We have no need or desire to access Panera’s confidential or proprietary information,” Papa John’s said.



Panera said that Papa John’s competes with them when it comes to delivery and catering. In the lawsuit, Panera said Papa John’s had been eyeing its technology for quite some time, and that Nettles had stolen Panera documents in order to give to Papa John’s.

The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis, seeks to stop Nettles from working for Papa John’s for at least one year and to stop him from disclosing Panera’s confidential information. They also want their attorney’s fees paid along with a jury trial.

Panera did not respond to KMOV’s request for comment.

Do you think Nettles should not be allowed to work for Papa John’s for a year? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Consumerist, KMOV

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail



 

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