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Frederick scientist claims FDA stole idea

FREDERICK — A Frederick scientist says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stole his trade secrets for software to help detect threats to the food supply.

The Frederick News-Post reported Tuesday that John Hnatio says he learned of the alleged copyright infringement when he saw a similar tool offered for free on the FDA website last year. The agency’s intellectual property lawyer has said he could not substantiate the allegation.

Hnatio says he has filed a complaint with the Small Business Administration. The SBA says it referred the matter to the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Hnatio runs a small company called FoodQuestTQ. He claims the release of the FDA tool has cost him business opportunities and forced him to lay off workers.

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