Cocona has filed a lawsuit against Singtex, a Taiwan-based fabrics supplier, for violating its development and non-disclosure agreements in developing a lower-priced fabrics line.
According to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District Of Colorado, Cocona (under its previous name TrapTek, LLC) and Singtex in 2005 entered into a nondisclosure agreement and agreed to maintain the confidentiality of all non-public information and/or materials the companies exchanged during discussions related to a possible business relationship. In April 2008, Cocona and Singtex entered into a supplier certification agreement pursuant to which Singtex agreed to manufacture certain products for Cocona. Singtex then began producing proprietary Cocona products, including Cocona proprietary yarn.
In or around 2010, however, Singtex began marketing a composite yarn technology it called “S.Café,” according to the lawsuit. Singtex reportedly claimed that product had the same performance qualities as Cocona’s proprietary products. Cocona said S.Café uses less expensive, inferior materials, including a less expensive alternative to coconut carbon, to reach a lower price point. Singtex then began targeting customers and potential customers of Cocona’s proprietary products.
Cocona claims Singtex breached the terms of the supplier agreement, breached the terms of the nondisclosure
agreement, and further misrepresented the capability of its S.Café fabric products to perform in a manner comparable to Cocona’s proprietary products. These include asserting the S.Café fabric had the same functionality in the areas of odor absorption, ultraviolet protection, and moisture control.
Jeff Bowman, the chief executive officer of Cocona, said the damages that have been or will be sustained by Cocona due to Singtex’s actions cannot readily be ascertained or calculated at this time but will be determined at trial.
“Fortunately, this violation has not enabled Singtex to duplicate Cocona’s patented 37.5 technologies,” said Bowman. “Nevertheless, Cocona will aggressively protect its intellectual property against any entity that violates our patents or development agreements.”
Separately, Cocona has also filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against Singtex for false and misleading advertising. The complaint names several US and European companies that are making unsubstantiated product performance claims attributed to S-Café additives.
Included in the complaint are false and misleading claims by Singtex that S-Café additives:
- Increase the movement of moisture vapor
- Decrease fabric dry times
- Reduce odor
- Improve UV protection
Cocona said several prominent US brands that were making these false and misleading claims about their products as a result of the information they received from Singtex have agreed to quit making these claims.