Coppertone & Neutrogena Accused Of Patent Infringement

Category: WTO Sub-category: Intellectual Property
Document type: news

15-Feb-2012 | 18:35 IST | Edited by: Ms. Sharmila Maitra

L'Oreal has accused Merck & Co., the maker of Coppertone, and Johnson & Johnson, which owns the Neutrogena.Corp., of patent infringement in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, in January. Both use a compound for prevention of the exposure of the skin from the ultraviolet radiation, and according to the patents, both are more stable and provide longer-lasting protection than other sun blocking compounds. However this data has met with raised eyebrows because according to the National Cancer Institute, at least 32 percent of all adults over 18, regularly use some sort of sunscreen products.

Patent Rights are reserved exclusively by the inventor or the person to whom the patent has been issued as per the law. Design rights can also be reserved for Design patents. The Intellectual Patent rights of an inventor are protected and governed by issuing a patent to the inventor on his invention so that he alone will have the rights over his invention. The patent intellectual rules are more or less same in every nation with a few variations. These intellectual property rights or IP in short proved very useful in protecting the inventor's invention from problems like infringement.

The "acts of infringement have caused and will continue to cause damage to L'Oreal," the Paris-based company said in it's court papers. The mixture appears in so-called avobenzone sunscreens and uses the compound octocrylene, according to court papers.

The cases are: L'Oreal v. Johnson & Johnson, 12CV98 and L'Oreal v. Merck & Co., 12CV99, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

L'Oreal, however is to seek unspecified damages after the jury trail -----a ruling that said that the patents are infringed and an order to stop further use of its inventions. As far as the other two companies are concerned, the Johnson & Johnson spokesperson and Merck spokesperson, both   are yet to comment on this respective lawsuit.

Similar examples include the, HTC Corp., the world's largest maker of mobile phones using Google Inc.'s Android system,  where HTC Corp has to face a patent-infringement claim brought by IPCom GmbH in a U.S. court. In addition to patent claims against HTC, IPCom has sued stores in Germany that sell HTC's 3G mobile phones. The case  HTC Corp. v. IPCom GmbH, 11-1004 is in the federal court of appeals in Washington.

Another glaring incident of similar nature is the trail in which the Pepper Hamilton, a law firm is accusing one of it's own clients of infringement.

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The L'Oréal Group is the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company. With its registered office in Paris, France. It has developed activities in the field of cosmetics. Concentrating on hair colour, skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfumes and hair care, the company is active in the dermatological and pharmaceutical fields and is the top nanotechnology patent-holder in the United States.

Coppertone is the brand name for an American sunscreen, owned by Merck, which is targeted to adult females.

Neutrogena is an American brand of skin care, hair care and cosmetics, that is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Neutrogena products are distributed in more than 70 countries. Neutrogena was founded in 1930 by Emanuel Stolaroff, and was originally a cosmetics company named Natone. It is now part of the United States-based Johnson & Johnson conglomerate, which bought the independent company in 1994.