Glaceau Takes PepsiCo to Court

Calls SoBe Life Water a "copycat product"

Published in CSP Daily News

NEW YORK -- A nutrient-enhanced water maker sued PepsiCo Inc. on Wednesday, saying the bottled drink giant was imitating its recipe and the look of its bottle with a new line of water products, according to the Associated Press.

Calling its new enhanced water a copycat product, Energy Brands Inc., which does business as glaceau, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. It sought unspecified damages and to stop PepsiCo and a subsidiary, South Beach Beverage Co. Inc., from marketing imitations of its products.

Energy Brands, based in Whitestone, N.Y., said in its lawsuit that PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., had begun marketing a SoBe Life Water product that was vastly similar to its own Vitaminwater brand. The lawsuit described vitaminwater as "glaceau's pioneering and market-leading nutrient-enhanced water product" and said SoBe Life Water is packaged in a similar manner with similar ingredients, color, sweetener type and calorie content.

Energy Brands said PepsiCo launched its product only after first trying to acquire the Vitaminwater brand earlier this year and being told it was not for sale. After copying the product in every way, PepsiCo encouraged their sales agents to stock SoBe Life Water in vitaminwater's retail display coolers, cases, racks and boxes, Energy Brands claims.

Energy Brands said it introduced the Vitaminwater brand in 1999 and has since expanded the product line to include 13 variations, each with its own flavor, color and vitamin blend. Sales of SoBe Life Water began several weeks ago.

"This is just an overreaction by glaceau to competition in the marketplace," said Dave DeCecco, a PepsiCo spokesman. "Consumers have told us they clearly see the difference between SoBe Life Water and glaceau vitaminwater."