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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2012

Formula inventor's heirs sue PepsiCo


NEW YORK -- The heirs of the man who helped develop the formula for Pepsi are suing the soda company over their right to share with the public documents detailing their father's invention.

The daughter and son of Richard Ritchie say PepsiCo Inc. is interfering with their ability to market or sell the rights of their father's life story and documents detailing his 1931 soda formula. The suit seeks a declaration that their disclosure of the documents would be protected by First Amendment rights and wouldn't be considered a trade-secret violation.

"The original formulas of iconic beverages and the lore that surrounds their genesis and provenance are of great interest to the public," the suit states. In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, Joan Ritchie Silleck and Robert Ritchie also seek unspecified damages for "unjustified and improper acts that have interfered" with their rights regarding their father's documents.

A representative for PepsiCo said the Purchase, N.Y., firm does not comment on pending litigation. Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately return calls for comment.

According to PepsiCo's Web site, the firm's namesake cola was created in the late 1890s. The suit filed on Friday says that Mr. Ritchie reformulated the cola in 1931.

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