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Procter & Gamble sues Kraft again


September 24, 2008
By The Associated Press

Topics

Sept. 24, 2008
– Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. sued Kraft Foods
Inc. again on Sept. 23 over coffee containers, saying Maxwell House
Coffee has copied a Folgers package.

Sept. 24, 2008 – Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. sued Kraft Foods Inc. again on Sept. 23 over coffee containers, saying Maxwell House Coffee has copied a Folgers package.

The patent lawsuit, filed by P&G in U.S. district court in Cincinnati, follows similar infringement complaints that the makers of the rival U.S. household coffee brands filed against each other last year. P&G spokeswoman Jen Becker said earlier litigation is still pending.

P&G says Maxwell House's new four-pound plastic container infringes upon Folgers' lightweight plastic container introduced five years ago. The lawsuit seeks to stop Kraft Foods from selling the new Maxwell House container and also asks for damages to be awarded.

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Susan Davison, a spokeswoman for Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft, said the company hadn't had a chance yet to review the new lawsuit.

"Kraft does not infringe the valid patent rights of others," she said. "We will vigorously defend ourselves in this matter."

Becker said the 2003 packaging innovation has been a significant boost to Folgers' business. She said the container is not only easier for consumers to handle, but maintains the freshness and aroma of the coffee longer.

"It was one of our biggest innovations of the last five years," she said.

P&G, whose other brands include Tide detergent, Gillette shavers and Olay skin care, has a deal for J.M. Smucker Co. to acquire the Folgers business in a transaction expected to close by year's end.