Earlier this year P&G sued Blue Cross Laboratories in a similar case accusing the company of distributing look-a-like Herbal Essences products.
In the latest lawsuit, P&G claimed that RNA Corporation is manufacturing bottles of shampoo and conditioner that resemble the Herbal Essences products and distributing them under the name Hydrating Herbal Shampoo and Hydrating Herbal Conditioner.
Filed in the US Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, the lawsuit asks RNA Corporation to stop distributing the products and recall the existing inventory.
P&G alleged that RNA Corporation is copying the Herbal Essences packaging and logo to take advantage of awareness and loyal following the brand has built up.
The company said it believes that the status quo is causing confusion and could damage the brand, eating into the goodwill 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.”
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.
The consumer goods company also spends considerable amounts on lobbying.
According to a report filed with the House clerk’s office P&G spent $1.1m in the second quarter of 2008 lobbying government on a wide range of issues including trade, foreign policy, climate change, patent reform and advertising.