Procter & Gamble files lawsuit over mouth rinse

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Brand Procter & gamble Marketing

Proctor & Gamble has filed a US lawsuit against a private label
manufacturer of health and beauty products, Vi-Jon Industries,
alleging that the company copied its branding and packaging to
market a similar product designed to compete against it.

The lawsuit alleges that Vi-Jon 'infringed and diluted the unique trade dress of P&G's Crest Pro-Health' as well as using false advertising claims against its product. Crest Pro-Health is marketed as antiplaque/antigingivitis oral rinse and is formulated to kill germs and enhance general oral care. It also is a leader in the moutwash segment.

"We had to take this action to protect our business and the interests of our consumers,"​ stated Diane Dietz, general manager North America oral care.

"Conduct from private label manufacturers that can mislead consumers cannot be tolerated. P&G invests heavily in research, development, and intellectual property and design, and must protect that investment,"​ she added.

P&G say that the lawsuit alleges that Vi-Jon's packaging of its mouthwash product mimics its packaging, and specifies that it uses its distinctive 'faceted diamond' bottle shape, the precise shade of blue mouthwash rinse, and the shape, metallic finish and general color scheme of the label.

The world's leading personal care and consumer goods provider also says that VI-Jon product is 'comparable' to its Crest Pro-Health product and that the VI-Jon also makes similar claims that it kills germs that cause plaque and gingivitis.

P&G says that the ultimate aim of the lawsuit is to forbid Vi-Jon from continuing to market its mouth wash in this way and to seek damages for the unfair competition as well as the perceived damage to its own brand.

Further to this claim, P&G says that it has carried out in-house testing that proves the Vi-Jon product is not comparable to its mouth rinse, as it is not as effective in killing germs that cause oral bacterial 'to such a meaningful degree.'

P&G staunchly protects its brands portfolio, and frequently issues lawsuits against companies perceived to be imitating its brands or trying to piggyback or hijack its own marketing efforts.

The latest lawsuit was filed a day after P&G said it reached a settlement with McLane regarding a suit it filed last December that again addressed copied packaging. In this case it alleged that McLane sold products with packaging that copies some of its well-known toilet paper and medicine brands such as Charmin and NyQuil.

Related topics Packaging & Design

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