Universal Orlando has released its first public statement regarding an Ohio man’s lawsuit which claims that the ideas behind their restaurant Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal CityWalk were his. Universal dismisses Adam Limle’s arguments on the basis that they are founded on generalities, not trade secrets.
Limle says that the inspiration for his idea came from watching his daughter drawing pictures of the north pole. She created a chocolate factory in her art, which Limle thought was a novel idea for a restaurant. He claims that he discussed this over a period of months with Universal executives. He patented The Chocolate Factory 2014, also creating The Chocolate Factory LLC, an online company to sell chocolates. His suit, which seeks $40 million from Universal, alleges, “Universal….and TCF were entering into a confidential business relationship together… [and] Universal secretly hatched a plan to develop and exploit” Limle’s ideas.
Universal has made no open denial as to having met with Limle, but pointed out that the plaintiff “fails to identify a single employee of Universal” that was involved in his version of events.
Universal’s stance is that Limle is seeking credit for a vague idea and “a mixture of known ingredients”. Their motion to dismiss states, “One is left to guess what is so unique, novel or special about Plaintiff’s combination of a chocolate/confection themed restaurant, in-house working chocolate factory, and retail store. As pled, such elements certainly are not so generally unknown, as to be protected as trade secrets.”
Universal had changed the name of the restaurant three months prior to opening, switching the word “Factory” for “Emporium”.
David Oliver, Limle’s lawyer, has replied to Universal, stating the validity of the claim is “a question of fact for a jury after the presentation of testimony, both factual and expert, as well as documentary evidence.”
Source: The Orlando Sentinel