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BD Sues Cytek, Alleging Misuse of Trade Secrets

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Becton Dickinson is suing Cytek Biosciences and several former BD employees, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets.  

In a complaint filed this week with the US District Court, Northern District of California, BD said that Cytek had formerly serviced BD's flow cytometry products, but a few years ago it hired about a dozen scientists, engineers, and business people from BD, and employed them to develop flow cytometry products based on confidential BD information. When those former employers left BD to work at Cytek, they "improperly retained and misused" BD's proprietary information, including thousands of confidential and valuable technical files, downloaded from BD's computer systems, BD alleges.

It added that it has contacted Cytek about its concerns, but Cytek "has not investigated and disclosed the extent to which it and its employees have or have shared confidential BD information, and how any such information has been used."

Cytek was founded in the early 1990s by a former BD employee as a service firm to support flow cytometers developed by other companies, including BD, according to the complaint. BD added that before March 2017, Cytek continued to operate solely as a service firm and did not produce or sell its own flow cytometers.

"According to its current website, however, Cytek now consists of 'engineers, scientists, and customer service representatives who design, build, and support flow cytometers," BD said in its lawsuit.

Along with Cytek, nine former BD employees, who left the company between 2015 and 2016 to work for Cytek, were named as defendants in the lawsuit.

BD seeks a permanent injunction against Cytek from using BD's confidential and proprietary information, and selling any flow cytometry product based on BD's confidential information, as well as the return of all BD's property. It also seeks an order for an expert forensic review of Cytek's computer systems, and the deletion of all confidential BD information; damages; fees; and interest.