California - CAO Group Inc., a company headquartered near Salt Lake City, Utah founded by Dr. Densen Cao, PhD was sued last week by Procter & Gamble Co., the well-known Ohio-based consumer goods conglomerate. Apart from dental products, CAO Group develops and manufactures a variety of different products like forensic lighting, diode lasers used in veterinary medicine, and billboard lighting.
P&G has taken issue with CAO Group's dental products, accusing the company of infringing on its patented system of teeth whitening strips. The technology P&G hopes to protect is covered in 3 patents pertaining to its Crest Whitestrips brand.
According to the allegations in the complaint, filed in District Court in Ohio, CAO Group's "Sheer Film" products such as "Sheer White!," "Sheer DesenZ," and "Sheer FluorZ" use the same method as Whitestrips in which a thin, moldable film containing an active additive is placed over the teeth, pressed against them and worn for some length of time to whiten and produce other effects of oral care. P&G is striving for an injunction to prevent infringement of its patents as well as damages, interest, and attorneys fees.
The U.S. patents in question are No. 7,122,199 entitled "Method for Whitening Teeth", Patent No. 5,989,569 entitled "Delivery system for a tooth whitener using a permanently deformable strip of material", and Patent No. 6,045,811 entitled "Delivery system for an oral care substance using a permanently deformable strip of material." P&G believes CAO Group's plastic films containing a carbamide peroxide solution infringe its patents by using the same application techniques. Further, P&G alleges CAO Group's products encourage consumers to also infringe on its patents.
Procter & Gamble, which had nearly $84 billion in sales last year and placed fifth as one of the World's Most Admired Companies, claims that over 2 billion people used Crest Whitestrips in 2011. P&G began in the 1880's with the creation of "Ivory" soap, which became famous for being able to float in water.
P&G believes CAO Group's infringement of its patents was done knowingly and intentionally.
CAO Group calls its method "the most significant advance in teeth whitening in nearly a decade" and claims to own more than 60 issued and 80 pending US and international patents to cover the technologies it has created.