The descendants of one of the men who developed the iconic soda’s successful formula are suing PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP). The heirs want to publish documents related to a 1931 reformulation of Pepsi soda by their father, Richard Ritchie, the Associated Press reports.
In a suit filed in a New York federal court, Ritchie’s son and daughter ask the court to declare that publishing the original documents wouldn’t violate Pepsi’s trade secrets.
Pepsi was originally created in the 1890s by a North Carolina pharmacist who went bankrupt trying to market it. According to the heirs, Charles Guth, who later purchased the company, turned to Richard Ritchie, a candy formula specialist, in 1931 to change the soda’s taste.
Ritchie altered the formula, and Pepsi went on to commercial success. The heirs say Ritchie kept the original documents detailing his formula and provided the company with a copy in 1941.
The original documents were found among the late Ritchie’s personal papers in 2008. PepsiCo warned the family that publishing them would violate its trade secrets.
The Ritchie heirs also allege that PepsiCo has attempted to block publication of the documents and seeks unspecified damages for the company’s interference.