Man alleges Scotts Miracle-Gro stole idea for invention

By The Northern California Record | Feb 17, 2016

SACRAMENTO – A Placer County inventor is suing an Ohio corporation over allegations that it stole his idea for a liquid fertilizer universal feeder.

Theo Duncan filed a complaint Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., citing breach of contract, breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he invented a product wherein one could reduce their time in fertilizing their yard. Duncan alleges that he approached the defendant about his invention and asked if it would be interested in acquiring all rights to his product, and the defendant orally agreed to acquire all rights regarding plaintiff's invention for $5 million plus a 5 percent royalty on all fertilizer sold for the product, the suit states.

After this phone call, the suit states, both parties agreed on terms and the defendant said that it would contact plaintiff about legal procedures. The defendant was supposed to contact plaintiff about the acquisition of his product, but never contacted Duncan again, the suit states. The plaintiff holds The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. responsible because the defendant allegedly used his invention to design the Miracle-Gro Liquafeed Universal Feeder, prior to both parties closing the deal.

The plaintiff seeks the following: compensatory and punitive damages, along with prejudgment interest, restitution and disgorgement of profits, attorney's fees, cost of the suit and any other relief the court deems just and proper. He is represented by Randolph Gaw, Mark Poe and Victor Meng of Gaw Poe LLP in San Francisco.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California Case number 2:16-cv-00293-TLN-KJN

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Gaw Poe LLP Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

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