P&G Sues McLane Over Alleged Copycat Products

Claims towels, TP, cold medicine mimic brands

Published in CSP Daily News

CINCINNATI -- Procter & Gamble Co. on Thursday sued McLane Co. Inc. for selling products that P&G alleges look similar to some of its brands, reported the Associated Press.

The Cincinnati-based consumer products company said the suit, filed in U.S. district court in Dayton, Ohio, asks for a preliminary order to stop McLane, a subsidiary and a vendor from selling four products it says illegally copy P&G packaging. The suit also demands the defendants tell retailers to impound or return the products, and asks for unspecified damages.

McLane spokesperson Rachel Hughes told CSP Daily News that the Temple, Texas-based distributor had no comment on the lawsuit.

McLane is one of the nation's biggest food distribution and logistics companies, providing food, drinks, utensils and other products to convenience stores, retailers, fast-food chains and movie theaters around the world. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought McLane from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2003.

P&G alleges that paper towels called Towels copy its Bounty packaging, toilet paper called Soft N Plush copies Charmin and over-the-counter cold medicines called DayTime and NightTime mimic Vicks' NyQuil and DayQuil LiquiCaps brands.

The suit says P&G has spent large sums of money marketing its products, and that the defendants are confusing consumers so they can cash in on the P&G products' "substantial reputation and goodwill."

P&G has filed a variety of such infringement suits against other companies over the years. "When we spot it, and when we recognize that consumers are confused by a lookalike product, we aggressively protect our trademarks and copyrights," P&G spokesperson Doug Shelton said.