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The actress has been accused by Los Angeles company 220 Laboratories of making a verbal deal to promote a line of hair care products before taking the special component and giving it to a competitor.
In the lawsuit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, 220 Laboratories claim Kate took the idea of using volcanic ash from the Vanuatu Islands in the South Pacific and gave it to David Babaii for Wildaid.
Kate, 29, has promoted a line of products for the David Babaii brand in a video, on TV and during interviews.
Both the ‘Fools Gold’ actress and Babaii – a celebrity stylist whose clients include Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Scarlett Johannson and Gwyneth Paltrow – work with Wildaid.
Wildaid is a charity that is working to end illegal trade in wildlife.
Kate has denied the accusations, insisting she has never met anyone from 220 Laboratories.
Her publicist Brad Cafarelli said: “Kate and her attorneys are only just learning of the complaint as Kate has not yet been served. Kate does not know the plaintiffs and has never met with them or spoken with them. Her representatives believe that the claims are baseless and without merit and intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
220 Laboratories is suing Kate, Babaii and rival company, Universal Packing Systems, for fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and breach of confidence. The suit seeks unspecified damages.