Brandwynne v. Combe International

Brandwynne v. Combe International

S.D.N.Y. (1999)

Our clients, Combe International and Combe Incorporated, were sued by Jacqueline Brandwynne and Brandwynne Corporation in a twelve-count complaint alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, trademark infringement, false designation of origin, breach of express and implied contracts, and fraud. The case arose in connection with Combe’s development and marketing of a feminine care product. At the close of discovery, the District Court granted summary judgment to Combe on each and every one of Brandwynne’s counts. The Court found that Brandwynne’s alleged trade secret was unprotectable because it lacked novelty and originality and because prior to any contact between Brandwynne and Combe, Combe had begun its own research and development independently to devise its own product. It was further held that Brandwynne’s alleged trademarks were generic or, at best, were merely descriptive, and that Brandwynne could not establish that it had secondary meaning in the marks.