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Proctor & Gamble Wins Dispute

December 31, 1997

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Procter & Gamble Co., the maker of Pampers and Luvs disposable diapers, has won patent infringement claims against a rival that makes private-label diapers.

A federal judge ruled Paragon Trade Brands Inc. infringed upon P&G’s two patents for improving the fit and comfort of disposable diapers.

In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Joseph Longobardi of Wilmington, Del., also rejected Paragon’s patent infringement claims against P&G.

Paragon, the nation’s largest maker of private-label disposable diapers, said it will file an appeal. The company estimated its liability could be $160 million to $200 million.

Paragon said the court had not yet determined the amount.

``We are extremely disappointed with the current decision in this litigation,″ Bobby Abraham, chief executive of Norcross, Ga.-based Paragon, said in a news release, ``however, we continue to believe that the patents asserted by P&G are invalid and not infringed by our products.″

The amount of damages demanded include a percentage of sales of Paragon diapers containing an ``inner leg gather″ that prevents leaks.

In the lawsuit it filed in 1994, P&G said it was assigned the two patents in 1987 and 1989 and that Paragon was selling diapers covered by the patents without authority or license.

P&G spokesman Scott Stewart today said the judge’s decision was what P&G expected.

``Our company will not hesitate to take whatever action that is necessary to protect our investments and technologies,″ he said.

Cincinnati-based P&G markets more than 300 brands of food, beverage, cosmetic, health and paper products. Some of its best-known brands are Tide, Crest and Folgers.

Its 1996 sales totaled $35.7 billion.

Paragon had $580 million in sales in 1996.

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