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P&G sues Colgate over TV ads

Published on .

Procter & Gamble Co. said it is suing Colgate-Palmolive Co. for copyright infringement and unfair competition. P&G claims Colgate copied a demonstration used in P&G's TV ads for Crest since 1989. In the sequence, an eggshell is placed in a mild acid solution, representing acid conditions in the mouth. When removed, a portion of the shell previously treated with fluoride stays hard while the untreated portion is shown being easily damaged because of loss of calcium. The suit, which also names Young & Rubicam, the Colgate agency, was filed in U.S. district court in New York. P&G said Colgate began airing the allegedly infringing toothpaste ads in China in March, and has used the visual sequence in ads in Australia, Uruguay and the Philippines. A Colgate spokesman said the company "believes the lawsuit is baseless and intends too defend vigorously Colgate's legal right to use this commercial." D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, is the Crest agency.

Copyright December 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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