Racine-based Inter-Med Inc., a manufacturer of dental products, has filed a civil lawsuit against its former director of engineering, alleging the former employee used proprietary trade secret information while at his next job. The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Thursday.
Inter-Med was founded in 1995 to design, manufacture and sell dental products with a special focus on the endodontic field. It originally did business as Vista Dental Products. Since 2020, it has also been doing business as Vista Apex.
The complaint states that former employee John Baeten was hired by Inter-Med in 2008 as a new product development engineer. For the last seven years of his employment with Inter-Med, Baeten was the director of engineering and R&D.
Inter-Med alleges that Baeten signed a restricted unit grant agreement (RUG) in August 2018 that barred him from discussing any confidential information at any point in time after he left the company.
The complaint alleges after Baeten took a new job with Menomonee Falls-based Engineered Endodontics, the company suddenly began to “introduce new products into the market outside of its traditional field of expertise.”
The complaint states Engineered Endodontics’ product offerings had been largely limited to mechanical devices used by dental professionals, such as ultrasonic tips and finishing files. Over the past year or so, however, Engineered Endodontics has introduced products including gels and sealers specifically used in endodontics, despite no history of or experience in developing or bringing to market such chemistry-based products, the complaint states.
Inter-Med alleges Engineered Endodontics has been launching these new products at an “unprecedented pace” and that each of these new products is “strikingly similar” to products that Baeten worked on while employed by Inter-Med.
“It is unlikely that (Engineered Endodontics) could have developed these new products without Mr. Baeten’s assistance and guidance and without Mr. Baeten using or disclosing Inter-Med trade secrets,” reads the complaint.
Inter-Med declined to provide a further comment on the lawsuit Friday.
Engineered Endodontics also declined to comment Friday.
There was no immediate response to messages left with Baeten and his current employer.