P&G files lawsuit to protect Herbal Essences

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Herbal essences, Procter & gamble

Procter and Gamble (P&G) is consulting its lawyers again after
having filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Laboratories accusing the
company of distributing look-alike Herbal Essences products.

P&G regularly takes legal action against competitors to protect its brands. Last month the personal care company sued the cosmetics manufacturer Fruit of the Earth to protect the physical 'look and feel' of the Olay Regenerist line. In the latest lawsuit, P&G claimed that Blue Cross Laboratories is manufacturing bottles of shampoo and conditioner shaped like the Herbal Essences products and distributing them to dollar stores under the name Herbal Passion. Filed yesterday in the US Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, the lawsuit asks Blue Cross Laboratories to stop distributing the products and recall the existing inventory. P&G alleged that Blue Cross Laboratories is copying the Herbal Essences packaging to take advantage of customer awareness of the brand. The company said it believes that the status quo is causing confusion and could damage the brand eating into the consumer loyalty and success Herbal Essences has established. P&G legal officer Jim Johnson said: "We believe this is a clear case of infringement designed to take advantage of consumer loyalty and business growth that P&G developed through the reinvention of its Herbal Essences brand.""This is a serious case of trade dress infringement, and we are asking the court to stop the distribution of these products to protect the equity of intellectual property of the Herbal Essences brand." ​ Although P&G is on course to achieve industry-leading sales growth this year, intense competition in the US personal care sector means the company has to fight hard to protect its products. P&G 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 strongly enforced. 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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