Man sues Heinz for patent infringement over flexible packet
A Chicago man is suing H.J. Heinz Co. for patent infringement, saying he pitched his “CondiCup” invention to Heinz years before it introduced Dip & Squeeze ketchup containers.
Scott White claims he came up with an idea for a flexible packet that would enable diners to dip finger foods or squeeze condiments onto foods such as sandwiches, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois that seeks damages.
He emailed a Heinz executive about his then-patent-pending CondiCup in 2006 after reading about Heinz's efforts to rekindle business with McDonald's through packaging and was invited to Pittsburgh but ultimately heard nothing else for four years, the lawsuit stated.
Heinz, which introduced Dip & Squeeze in 2010, disputes White's claims.
The food producer won a similar case this summer, spokesman Michael Mullen wrote in an email on Friday.
“This is another frivolous lawsuit and we will aggressively defend our position and demonstrate that the allegations are groundless and without merit,” he said.
Heinz “worked for years to develop its patented dual-function Dip & Squeeze package,” Mullen said.
White's lawsuit stated that he filed a patent application on Oct. 25, 2005, and was issued a patent on July 31.
“That is significant,” attorney Dan Boulware, representing White, wrote in an email. “We seek to enforce (the patent) against those who are infringing. We believe Heinz to be infringing.”
Heinz said in its annual report for fiscal 2012 that it sold more than a billion packets of Dip & Squeeze in the United States during the past year, and “it is a global priority for the company.”
Kim Leonard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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