Vi-Jon the St. Louis based Private Brand Health & Beauty manufacturer is once again being sued by Procter & Gamble (P&G) for infringing its patents and trademarks for selling a bottle for the Target UP&UP Private Brand mouthwash, which they claim, looks remarkably like P&G’s Scope Outlast. P&G filed the lawsuit on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
This is the third lawsuit that P&G has filed related to Vi-Jon mouthwash packaging. P&G claims that the bottle and label shape infringe its design patents, trade dress, trademarks and copyright.
The Scope Outlast bottle has a distinctive longer neck and wider bottom than previous Scope bottles and has a triangular label. P&G calls the bottle design “unique, non-functional and inherently distinctive.”
“Vi-Jon is using and benefiting from our intellectual property, which we developed and promoted at great cost,” Charlie Pierce, group president of P&G’s oral care business, said in a statement.
I don’t personally see the similarity however retailers have significantly grown Private Brand sales and increased margins over the last few years it has too often been through a strategy focused on “me to” rather than brand building and unique differentiation.
The future of retail owned brands must focus on creating brands that build real relationships with our customers, through unique products and relevantly positioned brands.