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Abbott Laboratories v. Mead Johnson & Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
971 F.2d 6 (1992)


Abbott Laboratories (Abbott) (plaintiff) is in the business of manufacturing and selling Pedialyte, an oral electrolyte maintenance solution (OES) that prevents dehydration in infants. Abbott was the only producer in the United States OES market until 1990, when Mead Johnson & Co. (Mead) (defendant) began marketing a nearly identical formula called Ricelyte. The main difference was that Pedialyte was made from a glucose-based solution, and Ricelyte was made from a rice-syrup solid. Mead began an advertising campaign in which it claimed that Ricelyte was superior to Pedialyte, because Ricelyte was made from a rice-syrup solid. Abbott sued Mead pursuant to the Lanham Act, alleging that Mead had falsely advertised and infringed on Pedialyte’s trade dress. Abbott sought a preliminary injunction, seeking a range of relief, including a product recall or modifications to Mead’s advertisements. The district court denied Abbott’s motion based primarily on the assumption that a preliminary injunction would result in Mead’s elimination from the OES market. Abbott filed an interlocutory appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Flaum, J.)

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