Procter & Gamble Sues McLane

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Procter & Gamble Sues McLane

CINCINNATI -- Procter & Gamble Co. has filed a suit in the U.S. District Court against McLane Co., claiming the distributor is selling products that look remarkably similar to some of P&G's leading brands, according to reports in the Associated Press.

The suit also demands the defendants tell retailers to impound or return the products, and asks for unspecified damages.

"When we spot it, and when we recognize that consumers are confused by a look-alike product, we aggressively protect our trademarks and copyrights," P&G spokesman Doug Shelton said.

P&G claims 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 lawsuit says P&G has spent enormous sums of money marketing its products, and the defendants are confusing consumers so they can cash in on the P&G products' "substantial reputation and good will."

McLane, based in Temple, 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. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought McLane from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 2003.