Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC

Ohio's Proctor & Gamble sues teeth-whitening strip manufacturer

In most cases, competition in the marketplace benefits Ohio consumers, who are able to find the best products for the best prices. Nevertheless, some companies uses business litigation to keep competitors out of the market. For this reason, the court closely examines patent infringement cases to ensure that companies are not unfairly excluding competitors from the marketplace.

Ohio-based consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble, or P&G, has filed suit against a smaller New Jersey company over the production of teeth-whitening strips. Clio USA produces its own teeth-whitening strips and recently began distributing them to Target stores nationwide, where they were sold for about 30 percent less than the P&G product, Crest Whitestrips. The lower-cost Whitestrips reportedly sold well at Target.

Clio USA argues that there are enough differences in its product to absolve it from any accusations of patent infringement. However, P&G has already taken action that may cause long-term damage to Clio USA. P&G notified Target that it had filed suit against Clio USA, which led Target to remove Clio USA's product from its shelves. Unfortunately, the product will likely remain out of Target stores until the matter is resolved. A trial is scheduled for August. Clio USA has some overseas customers, which may keep the company in business at least until the case goes to trial.

P&G has been successful in several attempts to remove competing teeth-whitening strips from the market. In fact, even Johnson & Johnson removed its teeth-whitening strips from store shelves after P&G sued its competitor.

Anyone who is involved in a business dispute may want to seek the help of an attorney as soon as possible.

Source: North Jersey, "Englewood Cliffs company Clio in battle with consumer goods Goliath P&G," Joan Verdon, May 8, 2014

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