Squeezing Heinz

Multitasking in this day and age is passé. If you aren’t doing at least three things at once you are a definite underachiever. So it isn’t surprising that executives at the H.J. Heinz Co. did some research into how to make it easier to eat on the go – especially when they were trying to become the supplier for McDonalds. What they designed is a larger ketchup packet shaped like the iconic Heinz glass bottle, that can be torn open at the top to squirt out ketchup, or the foil lid can be peeled back from the bottom, so that foods can be dipped into the package.

According the Wall Street Journal website on August 16, Heinz Sued over ‘Dip & Squeeze,’ Scott White, is suing Heinz for patent infringement because he claims to have pitched a similar package to Heinz executives in 2006, after reading an article about the company’s pursuit of new packaging. White was awarded a patent for the design of the “CondiCup” just last month. His design differs greatly from the Heinz package, but White is insisting that the dual opening package is his brain child. “Heinz worked for years to develop its patented dual-function Dip & Squeeze package. Heinz will defend its position and demonstrate that the plaintiff’s allegations are groundless and without merit,” said Michael Mullen, a spokesperson for the company.

The article explains that it is unusual for an individual to sue a major corporation for infringement and even though a designer may have a patent for a comparable product, every detail of the design will be analyzed to determine if they are indeed similar enough to deserve a payout.

When I was in college I designed a ketchup bottle for a marketing class assignment. It had the cap on the bottom so the ketchup came out faster after being stored in that direction. It’s too bad that I didn’t patent the design currently found in refrigerators around the globe. But here is my tag line – now copyrighted as a part of this blog, “We stand on our head, so you don’t get ketchup on your face.” Just remember – you saw it here first.

To read the complete Wall Street Journal article, click here.

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