THE CONFLICT: Joan Ritchie Silleck and Robert Ritchie filed suit in May against PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y. The brother and sister claim the company is attempting to block them from releasing documents belonging to their late father. The records show how, at the request of his superiors, Ritchie reformulated the previously unsuccessful soft drink in 1931 into a Depression-era sensation. The Ritchies, who say their father gave Pepsi a copy of his formula in 1941 with the understanding he was keeping the original for himself, want to market or sell their father’s “extraordinary life story.”
THE OUTCOME: PepsiCo says the documents detailing the Pepsi formula are company property and should be protected as trade secrets, while the Ritchies argue it’s their First Amendment right to disclose their father’s papers. The suit is pending in Manhattan.