GSK accuses ex-employee of trade secret theft

Feb. 18, 2022

GlaxoSmithKline is taking a former employee to court, after accusing them of stealing trade secrets.

The Maryland federal court filing accuses GSK ex-employee Denise Brooks of trade secrets theft, and requests a restraining order against her. The company alleged that Brooks had exclusive access to GSK trade secrets, including information about GSK’s “manufacturing procedures and regulatory compliance.”

Brooks abruptly resigned from her position as Quality Systems Lead at a GSK manufacturing facility in Rockville, Maryland on January 13. On January 12, she arranged to exchange her old company laptop for a new one. The next day, following her resignation, Brooks went to get the new laptop, which had copies of sensitive company secrets copied onto it by IT, who were unaware of her resignation, GSK alleged. The company also accused Brooks of emailing documents containing confidential GSK information and trade secrets to her personal email account.

According to the filing, GSK has made several unsuccessful attempts to recover the information stolen by Brooks and hasn’t been able to reach her. According to GSK, Brooks ignored emails and other communications from GSK attempting to talk to her, including a voicemail from the company.

After repeated attempts at contact failed, GSK filed the action for misappropriation of trade secrets with the Maryland court and asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against Brooks. On February 15, the court granted the TRO, which prevented Brooks from accessing, using or disclosing any of GSK’s confidential data or information. Brooks must also provide proof that  she did not delete any of the stolen documents and is barred from any further deletion of documents related to the case.

GSK isn’t the only company dealing with alleged theft of trade secrets. In February, Pfizer accused two former employees of stealing company secrets and using them to develop Regor Therapeutics. The two employees, Xiayang Qiu and Ming Zhong, filed a patent for a diabetes-and-obesity treatment that was “strikingly similar” to the one developed by Pfizer, according to the complaint just one year after developing their new company.  

According to the filing, a hearing for GSK’s case has been tentatively scheduled for February 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.