Former Roman Catholic monk Dennis Wyrzykowski, his cosmetics company Carmel Laboratories, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have teamed up as a holy trinity against beauty company L’Oreal.
The complaint alleges that L’Oreal stole the group’s anti-aging technology for use in its own line of beauty products.
The trio filed a lawsuit in reference to Carmel’s skin cream Easeamine, which uses adenosine, a chemical found in the heart, to promote skin elasticity. The University of Massachusetts developed the technology and licensed it to Carmel in 2009.
The Easeamine cream was originally made to be sold through the Teresian Carmelites in Millbury, Mass. to help fund their work with prisoners, drug addicts, and school children. The religious group has a troubled past with the Catholic Church, which withdrew its recognition because the organization no longer qualified. It continues operations as a nondenominational nonprofit.
The lawsuit, filed in June and amended in August, claims that L’Oreal was refused a patent on the formula because it was too similar to the patent that the University of Massachusetts held for its product—yet went on to sell skincare products with adenosine anyway.
Wyrzykowski said the availability of L’Oreal’s copycat product has made it impossible to sell the charity’s version, which sold for $65. “L’Oreal pillaged the poor,” Wyrzykowski said in the filing.
L’Oreal insists that the product is different from the one under patent from UMass. No settlement has been reached in the suit.