Proctor & Gamble and Georgia-Pacific Duke It Out Over Paper Towel Patterns.

CINCINNATI, May 9, 2009 -- Makers of BOUNTY EXTRASOFT paper towels brought suit today in Ohio by claiming the distinctive bowtie pattern on their towels is being imitated by BRAWNY.

The Proctor & Gamble Company (P&G), the consumer products giant headquartered in Cincinnati, filed suit today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Ohio against Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, LP.

P&G claims that BOUNTY EXTRASOFT paper towels have featured a bowtie-like dimple pattern on the surface of the towels since the product was introduced in February, 2008. P&G claims the bowtie pattern is inherently distinctive and/or has acquired secondary meaning among the relevant purchasing public; and therefore, is entitled to protection as a trademark identifying the source of the product.

The P&G pleading states that Georgia-Pacific's BRAWNY paper towels had a concentric circle dimple pattern referred to as the "scrubbing circles" pattern from from 2001 until April 2009, at which time the pattern changed to a concentric bowtie pattern.

According to the complaint, BOUNTY EXTRASOFT generated more than $100 million in retail sales by April 2009, while the volume of sales of BRAWNY have declined.

A trial by jury has been demanded. If the matter goes through trial to a decision, the jury will decide whether the BOUNTY dimple pattern has acquired secondary meaning and whether the BRAWNY pattern is confusingly similar.

Damages are being sought for trademark infringement and unfair competition in addition to a court order forcing Georgia-Pacific to adopt a different dimple pattern.

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