Defunct Ozy Media Sues Ben Smith, Semafor, Claims Theft of Trade Secrets

Carlos Watson’s collapsed company claims Smith used knowledge of Ozy’s operations to launch Semafor

The shell of Carlos Watson’s Ozy Media on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Semafor co-founder Ben Smith, his news site and his former outlet, Buzzfeed, claiming that Smith stole trade secrets from the now defunct news website and then forced its implosion.

The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court also alleges that BuzzFeed breached a mutual nondisclosure agreement it entered into with Ozy in 2019 as part of its efforts to buy the company.

Ozy, which shut down in March following the indictment of founder and CEO Carlos Watson for securities fraud, claims in the suit that Smith, the former media columnist for The New York Times, willfully misappropriated Ozy’s trade secrets “to create, launch, operate, lure investors and advertisers to, and ultimately generate significant revenue for his own media company, Semafor.”


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