P&G sues store brand manufacturer over tooth whitening strips

CINCINNATI -- Procter & Gamble is suing a company they accused of ripping off their technology for Crest tooth whitening strips.

P&G obtained a pair of patents for tooth whitening and oral care strips in 1999 which will expire later this year. However, the Michigan-based Ranir, which manufactures store brand oral care products, has already been selling similar tooth whitening strips at stores including Walmart and Kroger, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Monday.

Since 2012, P&G has taken legal action against at least four companies they accused of infringing on their tooth whitening intellectual property.

"It is the most recent private label supplier in a long line that have tried to ride on the coattails of P&G's success by selling tooth whitening strips that infringe P&G's patented technology," the lawsuit states.

Ranir had previously begun manufacturing similar strips in 2012, but voluntarily stopped when P&G contacted them about the alleged intellectual property violation, according to the lawsuit. Ranir also bought a company last year which had previously settled a lawsuit with P&G for manufacturing similar strips.

The Crest Whitestrips line has annual sales of more than $250 million, according to P&G.

A Ranir spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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