4 October 2018Trademarks

Colgate takes on Dutch company over dental trademark

Colgate-Palmolive took a Netherlands-based company to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday over alleged trademark infringement.

Colgate accused PrevDent International and its US affiliate PrevDent USA of infringing ‘PreviDent’, a trademark that Colgate has used since 1982 for oral care products, including medicated toothpaste and dental cream.

The suit claimed: “Colgate has achieved sales of products bearing the ‘PreviDent’ trademark in the US in the hundreds of millions of dollars over the past four decades. Over that time, Colgate’s PreviDent brand has been among the best-selling medical dental brands in the US market.”

PrevDent has recently begun using ‘Prevdent’ in the US in association with its line of fluoride-free oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash, according to Colgate.

US conglomerate Colgate also alleged that PrevDent is promoting its products as treating many of the same dental problems that Colgate’s PreviDent products treat, such as tooth sensitivity and enamel decay.

The mere deletion of the letter ‘i’ in the defendants’ trademark “does nothing to dispel confusion as the mark is still virtually identical to the ‘PreviDent’ trademark in sight, sound and commercial impression”, the claim added.

PrevDent’s “misappropriation” of the ‘PreviDent’ trademark is putting the goodwill, which Colgate has built up “through years of substantial investment and effort”, at risk.

Colgate added: “As a result, defendants’ use of ‘Prevdent’ jeopardises and may permanently damage Colgate’s extremely valuable reputation.”

The US conglomerate, which also owns the Palmolive (soaps) and Hill’s (pet food) brands, is seeking an injunction against PrevDent to stop the company from using the ‘Prevdent’ trademark and any confusingly similar mark.

Along with requesting damages, Colgate has asked the court to order that PrevDent destroy any infringing goods and labels and transfer any infringing domain names.

In January this year, Colgate sued Michigan-based Ranir to stop it selling toothbrushes featuring the trademark ‘Smile 360’. Colgate, which has sold toothbrushes under its ‘360°’ mark (with the degree symbol) since 2005, then filed to dismiss the suit without prejudice in late March.

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More on this story

31 January 2018   Colgate-Palmolive is attempting to stop a Michigan-based business from selling toothbrushes featuring the mark ‘Smile 360’.
8 December 2017   The EU General Court has backed the European Union Intellectual Property Office in dismissing a trademark application from toothpaste manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive.