P&G files infringement lawsuit against Fruit of The Earth

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

The world's largest consumer and personal care company, Procter
& Gamble, has filed a lawsuit against cosmetic maker Fruit of
the Earth based on a number of infringements for patents filed
to protect Olay Regenerist.

P&G says the lawsuit, which is a trade dress taken out to protect the physical 'look and feel' of the Olay Regenerist line, was filed yesterday at the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, where P&G is based. It includes infringement on three patents, as well as the trade dress infringement on the product line's packaging, targeting what is claimed to be a look-a-like product produced and marketed by Fruit of the Earth and distributed in CVS outlets throughout the US. The lawsuit demands that Fruit of the Earth is ordered to stop distributing the infringing products and that all current stocks should be impounded or returned by retailers. P&G says that copy packaging is likely to mislead consumers, while simultaneously allowing Fruit of the Earth to trade its skin care line on the back of 'years of effort and expense' on the part of P&G to develop and market these products. "We believe this is a case of clear infringement designed to take advantage of consumer goodwill and business growth that P&G developed through its patented innovation on the Olay brand,"​ said Jim Johnson, P&G chief legal officer. Johnson went on to underline the fact that the company was taking the action in view of the seriousness of the copy right infringement, ultimately protecting the intellectual property rights of the company's brands. Although P&G is on course to achieve industry-leading sales growth this year, competition is extremely intense in the US personal care sector, which means the company is having to fight harder and harder to protect its brands in order to maintain its market lead. P&G, along with other leading global consumer goods companies, fiercely protects its brands. In any one year it issues hundreds of lawsuits worldwide, but is particularly active in the US market, where infringement laws are most fiercely protected. Looking to the fiscal year 2008, P&G is expecting organic sales to continue their strong growth to reach approximately $81.1bn, representing 6 percent growth for the full year.

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