SilverFox Innovations agrees $1.1m settlement for misappropriating CTI trade secrets

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

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SilverFox Innovations agrees $1.1m settlement with CTI
SilverFox Innovations has agreed to pay Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) $1.1m settlement for misappropriating trade secrets.

The ruling includes a 10-year injunction against four defendants; Rob Ugianskis, Eric Cathie, Jake Melcher and John Davis, prohibiting them from serving in any sales or technical support capacity for thermochromic (temperature-sensitive) metal decorating ink products.

'We will aggressively defend trade secrets'

The settlement was announced at a hearing at El Paso County, Colorado District Court, following a June 5, 2015 jury verdict that found, beyond reasonable doubt, four former CTI employees misappropriated trade secrets and their actions were attended by circumstances of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct.

CTI is happy with the jury verdict and the settlement payment. We have extensive intellectual property and trade secrets and will aggressively defend them​,” said Lyle Small, founder, CTI.

We were shocked and disappointed that four former employees chose to take company secrets and use them against us​.

The potential consequences of a damages trial could have been devastating for the defendants. We decided that allowing the SilverFox principals this settlement was a reasonable gesture to let everyone get on with their lives​.”

BeverageDaily reported last year Cathie, Davis, Melcher and Ugianskis were found guilty of stealing trade secrets from CTI​, which makes cans turn blue when a beverage is cold.

Coca-Cola ‘thermochromic inks’

Coca-Cola used its ‘thermochromic inks,’ which are temperature-sensitive, during a summer 16oz promotional can campaign and Coors Light used a cold indicator using cold-activated inks to enhance its message of “Beer as Cold as the Rockies.”

Small created CTI when he was a Cornell University chemistry student, in 1993, building ink molecules to find stimuli to turn inks “on and off” – also known as “smart inks.”

Today the business manufactures thermochromic materials for packaging, and exports to 52 countries.  

The company recently announced an expansion to its thermochromic inks offering hundreds of new colors for decorating metal cans, a process referred to in the industry as "metal deco."


Thermochromic metal decorating technology is designed for high-speed can printing lines (2,000 cans per minute). High Velocity Ink is the most powerful can ink with temperature inks activated at a certain temperature.

At set temperatures, colors will appear and disappear. CTI thermochromic technology includes; temperature ink that changes color when exposed to set temperatures; touch-activated ink which is a temperature-sensitive ink that disappears when in contact with body heat and heat-activated ink which fades away when certain high temperatures are reached.

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