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Early last month, an Abbott Laboratories (ABT) employee who had a significant role in marketing chronic pain therapies began work on a global marketing plan for 2019. But what Abbott did not know is the employee was talking to a key rival about a job and now Abbott is concerned that trade secrets to an important business have been revealed to a competitor, according to a lawsuit.

The device maker alleges that Blayne Fleck, a product manager for spinal cord stimulation products, was negotiating since last July to join Nevro (NVRO) at the same time that he was just one of eight Abbott employees to devise plans for marketing neuro-stimulation therapy products next year. And he resigned to join the competition on Oct. 3, eight days after completing the 2019 global marketing plan.

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