Consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G) has sued an oral goods manufacturer for patent infringement.

P&G filed its lawsuit against Ranir at the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division on Monday, March 20.

The suit focused on US patent number 5,891,453, called “Delivery system for a tooth whitener using a strip of material having low flexural stiffness”, and US number 5,894,017, named “Delivery system for an oral care substance using a strip of material having low flexural stiffness”.

Both patents were registered in April 1999 and cover a tooth whitening strip on which a tooth whitening or oral care substance containing an adhesive is applied to a relatively thin and flexible strip.

According to the suit, Ranir manufactures products that infringe its patent for companies such as Walmart and Kroger.

These include Equate Deluxe Whitening Strips, Equate Ultra Whitening Strips, Deluxe Whitening Strips and Premium Whitening Strips.

P&G argued that Ranir’s decision to launch the infringing products before the expiration of the patents-in-suit was “egregious and wilful”. The patents expire in June this year.  

Ranir introduced private label toothpaste whitening strips in 2012.

That same year, P&G informed Ranir of its IP rights and accused the company of infringing them.

Ranir “voluntarily” agreed to stop making and selling the products and removed them from the market, according to the claim.

However, P&G added that ,“with full knowledge” that the patents expired on June 6 this year, Ranir manufactured the products.

The suit added that Ranir has “intentionally infringed” the patents in order to make sales, and has acted recklessly, deliberately and in bad faith.

P&G asked for preliminary and permanent injunctions against Ranir, pre-judgment interest, triple damages, costs, attorneys’ fees and a jury trial.

A spokesperson for Ranir told WIPR that it is declining to comment at this time.

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