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Clorox Co. Puerto Rico v. Proctor & Gamble Commercial Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
228 F.3d 24 (2000)


Clorox Co. Puerto Rico (Clorox) (plaintiff) and Proctor & Gamble Commercial Co. (P&G) (defendant) were competitors in the detergent market. P&G promoted a detergent called Ace that was intended to whiten clothing in a manner similar to bleach. P&G launched an advertising campaign aimed at persuading consumers that chlorine bleach was not necessary to whiten clothing. P&G used the tagline “whiter is not possible” and called the product Ace con Blanqueador (Ace with Whitener). P&G shot commercials and issued promotional mailings that favorably compared Ace’s whitening power with bleach and other detergents. Clorox voiced concerns to P&G, and P&G responded by changing the tagline to “compare with your detergent…whiter is not possible.” Clorox sued P&G, alleging false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act. Clorox alleged that P&G falsely claimed in advertisements that Ace was a superior whitener to bleach. Clorox also attacked the advertisement for claiming that Ace contained whitening agents, when Ace actually contained color enhancers. Clorox also provided a consumer survey showing that the advertisements confusingly and misleadingly suggested to consumers that Ace was superior or equal to bleach in whitening power. The district court dismissed Clorox’s suit for failure to state a claim, and Clorox appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lipez, J.)

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