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Business litigation takes a bite out of company's profits

Georgia businesses may know the importance of patenting a product to be sure that no one else can use their proprietary information without the patent holder's express permission. This keeps other businesses from making a profit off another company's ideas, which could cause irreparable damage to the company that holds the patent. If it is discovered that patented information is being used without permission or agreed upon compensation to the patent holder, business litigation may be filed to keep the other company or companies from infringing on the patent.

For example, Proctor & Gamble Co. (P&G) holds a patent on its Crest Whitestrips. P&G discovered that another company, Clio USA was infringing on its patent by manufacturing and selling substantially similar teeth-whitening strips, which are distributed to stores such as Target. P&G filed a federal lawsuit against the company as part of its efforts to stop companies such as Clio USA from making products similar to the Crest Whitestrips. Recently, a consent order was entered out lining a settlement between the two companies.

Clio USA was to cease tooth-whitening strip shipments on Nov. 7, and is to inform all of the stores that carry its product to stop selling or distributing them by Dec. 31.  Before the consent order was even entered, Target severed its relationship with Clio USA, which cost the small New Jersey subsidiary of a company based in South Korea. This cost the company $3 million in revenue just from that store alone.

This type of business litigation can have a devastating effect on both the company infringing on the patent and the company who holds it. Georgia companies need to do their best to monitor their patents to be sure no one else is profiting from their ideas without permission. Conversely, companies that wish to sell a certain product need to be sure it is not inadvertently infringing on the patent of another company. 

Source: northjersey.com, "P&G prevails in patent dispute with Englewood Cliffs-based Clio USA", Hugh R. Morley, Nov. 3, 2014

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