Procter & Gamble steps up fight to protect brands

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Procter & gamble P&g

The world's largest consumer goods company has been back on the
lawsuit trail, as it continues to apply pressure on competition it
deems to be a step too close to the mark.

Yesterday the company announced a lawsuit against HABA-Davion, claiming that the company had infringed trade dress and trademarks involving several P&G beauty brands.

HABA-Davion, a New Jersey-based company, is primarily known as a producer of deodorants. P&G said that products it marketed infringed on beauty products including Secret, Old Spice, Red Zone and High Endurance.

"As in other cases we have pursued successfully, this is a clear case of infringement, designed to feed on the goodwill of our brands and confuse consumers,"​ said Jim Johnson, P&G's chief legal officer.

Johnson added that the lawsuit encouraged HABA-Davion to 'compete fairly with us' by drawing on their own designs and following laws regarding infringement.

The news came just as the company announced that it had settled a lawsuit against Tennessee-based Cumberland Swann, regarding products for alleged trade infringement and false advertising that played on its Crest Pro-Health oral rinse products.

Although the company denied the allegations, it agreed to stop manufacturing, distributing and selling the offending product line, P&G said.

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.

The latest lawsuit follows a string of similar activity this year that has included legal action against McLane over a copy of its NyQuil medicine brand and Vi-Jon Industries, which also involved its Crest Pro-Health mouthwash brand.

In early August the company also announced another lawsuit a against a product line manufactured by Perrigo New York, which the cosmetic giant claims closely imitates its core Olay brand.

But the protection of its brands appears to be paying dividends. The company recently announced record results. Net sales grew 25 per cent during the quarter from April to June to reach $17.84bn, up 20 per cent on the fiscal year, while organic sales were up 8 per cent.

Equally impressive was the jump in net profit, which jumped 36 per cent for the quarter and 25 per cent for the fiscal year to reach $8.68bn.

The strong financial performance has today prompted the company to reaffirm its Q1 guidance, stating that sales growth should be in the region of 23 - 27 per cent.

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