Packaging war wages for coffee giants

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Kraft foods, Patent

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is fighting back in an ongoing
dispute over packaging with Kraft Foods by opening counter-legal
proceedings over allegations it has infringed container designs
used on its rival's coffee products.

The case could have major implications for how rival food and beverage groups design and use packaging for their products. The group hopes to turn the tables on Kraft by calling on the company to stop using the packaging design on their own Maxwell house brand. P&G filed the suit in the District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin on Wednesday, according to US-based publication Business Week. The group is also claiming financial compensation as part of the case. Kraft had filed a similar complaint to the courts just last week, alleging that P&G were the group infringing on patented packaging used for its Maxwell House brand. Jim Johnson, P&G's chief legal correspondent claims that the company has been using the packaging type in question for the Folgers brand since 2003 and that it is Kraft that breached the rules. "We made large investments to overcome the technical challenges in making a lightweight plastic container that can withstand the pressure changes that occur between the factory and the consumer's home,"​ he stated. "Many innovations in this container are covered by P&G patents, which we believe Maxwell House has infringed."​ The conflict between the groups over coffee packaging began in August of this year, when P&G filed a complaint with a Californian court. In the case, the company claimed that Kraft had infringed a different patent it holds in plastic containers of Maxwell House. The case was put on hold last month though, after a judge ruled that a review of the patent needed to be carried out.

Related topics: Tea and Coffee, Markets

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