P&G claims in its suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, that Russ Kalvin's Hair Care Co. falsely describes the "nature, quality and characteristics of certain shampoos." P&G's concern stems in part from labels that say "generic brand version of Procter & Gamble's Pert Plus and Head & Shoulders" shampoo brands.
The suit also alleges false representations, trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. P&G is seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Russ Kalvin, president-ceo of the Santa Clarita, Calif., generics marketer, said he will defend his position. His company specializes in making and selling generic haircare products similar to well-known salon lines.
"The fact is that I've been sued many times," he said, "and I haven't been stopped by a court of law ... The legal test is whether a reasonable consumer would be confused, and there's no way in hell that the consumer would be confused with my product."
The suit is the latest action aimed at a company that appears to infringe on P&G brands. P&G in January sued Benjamin Ansehl Co. for packaging that it says infringes on Head & Shoulders. P&G expects to resolve the matter "very soon," according to a statement.