Christopher M. Warman allegedly has some valuable fudge recipes. In his second action to protect what he claims to be a valuable trade secret recipe for fudge, Warman’s complaint does not sugar-coat the parties’ sticky situation. He and his company have sued his ex-wife, Christine Falvo, and her company for a myriad of claims—trade secret misappropriation, trademark infringement, tortious interference with a contractual relationship, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy and defamation. In this case, these claims all centered on the recipe for “Chocolate Moonshine.”
The relevant facts begin before the parties’ relationship turned from sweet to bitter, when Warman allegedly shared all of his intellectual property with Falvo and their son. He apparently licensed the recipe to the defendant and provided her with his business contacts. Warman also alleges that he licensed the right in the “Chocolate Moonshine” trademark to his son. However, according to the complaint, Falvo never paid him any royalties on her sales as the parties had apparently agreed. Instead, Falvo allegedly claimed that she was using her own recipe and said that “Warman was crazy and that there was no trade secret.” Further, Warman says that Falvo has shared this information with another company as part of a “very good plan to take all of the business away from Warman.”
Warman is not new to defending his secret fudge recipes. In another case back in the mid-90s, Christopher M’s Hand Poured Fudge v. Hennon, 699 A.2d 1272, 1273 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1997), a Pennsylvania Superior Court found Warman’s fudge recipe to be a trade secret. In that case, Warman had another fudge recipe that he originally purchased for $140,000. He then developed the recipe for years, used it exclusively, and the recipe was known only to a few people in his company. Allegedly, a salty employee had taken Warman’s fudge recipe to a competitor.
In this new case, Warman makes similar allegations as in his first case—for example, he claims the recipe was “kept at all times confidential” and used procedures to keep the recipe a secret. As litigation progresses, the court will have to determine whether this fudge recipe meets the same standards as that in Warman’s previous case or whether the current claims are only half-baked.