Anheuser-Busch on Thursday claimed rival MillerCoors had broken the law by stealing recipes for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.
The allegations, including an employee of Anheuser-Busch, making screenshots of the secret beer recipes and smuggling them, are contained in a 66-page legal filing with the Wisconsin federal court in response to a MillerCoors complaint for false corn claims syrup in Super Bowl ads.
"We will impose our right to disclose how high this can go in
MillerCoors stated that it respected trade secrets and called A-B's claims to distract. "Anhezer Bush lost three major federal decisions in this case," spokesman Adam Collins said in an email. "And now they are just trying to dispel the basic fact that they deliberately misled American consumers.
"If the ingredients are secret," he continued, "why have they spent tens of millions of dollars telling the world what in Bud Light? And why are the ingredients printed on Bud Light packaging in giant letters? "
Thursday's lawsuit was filed in response to a Chicago-based MillerCoors lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch after the company ran a Bud Light Super Bowl advertisement in an effort to use Miller Lite corn syrup and other beers. MillerCoors claims that Anheuser-Busch misleads consumers by suggesting that corn syrup remains in the final product instead of being consumed during the cooking process.
In a counterclaim Thursday, Anheuser-Busch said a former employee who now works for MillerCoors had sent questions about beer ingredients and methods to a current employee at Anheuser-Busch.
It also suggests that a former employee of Anheuser-Busch shared confidential information from high-tech manuals that instruct brewery staff on how to combine these ingredients.
“The information. .. includes accurate recipes for the preparation of Bud Light and Michelob Ultra from February 201
The lawsuit states that MillerCoors violated the Federal Trade Secrets and Similar Laws in Wisconsin and Colorado and is seeking actual and punitive damages as well as an injunction to the judge,
Included in the submission were edited copies of photos of Bud Light and Michelob Ultra recipes from February 2, the day before the Super Bowl aids were aired, suggesting they were "secreted by a brewery AB ", said in a court case and then sent to someone at Miller Coors.
The suit also contained edited copies of text messages with the participation of Joshua Edgar, an employee of MillerCoors who worked at Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Cartersville, GA.
Shortly after the Super Bowl, Edgar sent a text message on behalf of MillerCoors senior management to the current Anheuser Busch employee asking about AB ingredients and brewing processes, according to the case.
"I've got a few calls from Corp people asking for bud light, we need to get revenge,"
Anheuser-Busch investigators searched the phone and computer belonging to Edgar's "source" at Cartersville Brewery, showing other texts containing confidential information claimed the case.
St. Law professor at the University of Louis Yvette Liebsman, who teaches intellectual property law, said that in order to be successful, Anheuser-Bush must show that MillerCoors took something valuable from AB and that it made a reasonable effort to retain that information in secret.
She also said that former employees would likely be barred from disclosing confidential information in their new jobs.