Local company sues over stolen noodle recipe

November 19, 2009 9:25:33 PM PST
A local company, famous for its noodles many of you eat in local restaurants, says a competitor tried to steal its secrets. So Southern Noodle Company on Wilcrest is going to court to protect its classified fortune cookie and noodle recipes. They say they're doing it to protect their livelihood. [ READ IT: Southern Noodle's lawsuit vs. Baily International]

Andy Hou takes a lot of pride in his Southern Noodle Company.

"This one is very good and very beautiful," said Hou, holding a fortune cookie.

From fortune cookies to wonton wrappers and the famous noodles, his ingredients and especially his method are so secret we can't even show you.

"It's a small-time, little-man success story and it's a Houston success story," said Anthony Farah, attorney for Southern Noodle Company.

Maybe you haven't heard of Southern Noodle, but if you've been to a Chinese restaurant around here you have eaten it.

"The cookie and the fortune goes inside and it's ready," said Hou.

But Andy Hou says he never predicted a business dealing with a goliath in his industry would end with what he claims was the stealing of his fortune.

Hou says Illinois-based Baily International wanted to buy his company so they paid him $50,000 earnest money. In exchange Hou provided access to his facility and books, but he claims they pulled out of the deal and ran off with his records.

The owner claims not only is his recipe book missing with his top secret method and ingredients but his customer files too. He fears that could mean fewer boxes will be leaving this warehouse.

"The damage could be significant," said Farah.

Hou is taking action, filing a lawsuit this week against Baily International. Court documents say the "defendants concocted this scheme to steal from plaintiffs a very special noodle recipe" and that "defendants' agents photographed plaintiffs' manufacturing process and stole the recipe from plaintiffs."

Hou claims his surveillance shows them coming in and taking pictures of his operation when he wasn't there. Baily international has not responded to these claims or our requests for comment today.

For decades Hou prided himself on having something no one else has, but now he fears his secret is out.

"Not everybody had and now everybody may have it because of the nefarious, alleged acts of this company," said Farah.

Hou is seeking financial damages, claiming conspiracy and misappropriation of trade secrets. We are still waiting to hear a response from the defendants in this case.


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