Heinz Sued For Patent Infringement Over Its Dip & Squeeze Ketchup Packets

By Joseph Mandour on September 3, 2012

California PatentOrange County – In the last 42 years, little has changed about ketchup packets, so consumers were pleased when Heinz switched to a “Dip & Squeeze” format in 2011.  The new packaging allowed the user to either squeeze the ketchup onto the product, or peel open the packaging and dip their food in.  Ketchup lovers were universally thrilled with the ease, convenience and three times the amount of ketchup in the little containers.  However, Scott White was not happy about the introduction of Heinz’s new product.  White, an independent inventor, claims that the condiment company  stole his idea for the Dip & Squeeze product.

Representatives for Heinz revealed that the ketchup company won a similar lawsuit earlier this summer for the same type of patent infringement.  According to Heinz, White’s claims constitute another frivolous lawsuit and Heinz vows to aggressively defend its product.  Heinz holds more than a dozen patents, including two that apply to the Dip & Squeeze container.  Furthermore, Heinz stands by its position as a leader in packaging innovation for more than a century, and argues that it has ample evidence to demonstrate that it worked on the packaging technology for years prior to its introduction into the marketplace.

In his lawsuit, Scott White claims he invented a condiment container called the CondiCup and filed for patent protection in 2005.  White further claims that after inviting him to corporate headquaters for an interview, Heinz took his design ideas and cut him out.  After hearing nothing for four years, White discovered in 2010 that Heinz planned on releasing “a familiar looking condiment container.”  Like White’s idea, Heinz’s newly introduced product included a proprietary sealant and similar dispensing features.  In the years since, the ketchup company has received numerous awards for its new packaging including the Silver Award in Innovation from the DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.  The new packaging was also recognized during the Food and Beverage Product Innovation Awards.

White received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this past July for his CondiCup design, which he claims was copied by Heinz.  White filed his patent infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago and is seeking a jury trial, as well as compensation for patent infringement.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement