The action is being brought against Ongue Personal Care (in Guangzhou), a manufacturer and distributor of tooth whitening products, and an importer, MS International Enterprises LLC.
P&G, which is looking to further strengthen the presence of its Crest oral care brand in the country, alleges that the two entities are in breach of its property rights due to their manufacture and retail of comparable private label tooth whitening strip products.
“P&G revolutionized the process of at-home whitening with the introduction of Crest Whitestrips to the public in 2001, and has had a steady stream of innovations on its product over the past decade,” the company states of the case.
P&G assert that its Crest 3D White Whitestrips products offer an enhanced tooth whitening experience - “with no slip and no mess” - thanks to the products’ ‘advanced adhesion technology’, for which the company owns the intellectual property.
The products are popular among consumers for offering professional-quality claims: they are, the company says, formulated with the same enamel-safe whitening ingredient dentists use, removing set-in stains below the enamel surface.
P&G claims that similar products being produced and manufactured by Ongue Personal Care and MS International Enterprises profit from the research and development previously invested by P&G.
“The Crest 3D White Whitestrips technology is a competitive advantage to P&G in the marketplace and P&G intends to protect its investment in the product,” the company states.
P&G: eyes on China
P&G has stated its intent to refocus its efforts in China, after admitting that until recently, it had seriously misjudged the market.
Speaking recently at his first investor presentation, newly-appointed CEO David Taylor voiced his intention to up the company’s game: “We know we haven’t been delivering lately and we need to bring our standards up.”
One area in which the company has specified it will now be investing more heavily is premium range lines, and has explicitly stated oral care will be in focus, including the launch of a new high-end toothpaste range, Oral B Gum Care.