The Kroger Co. v. Johnson & Johnson

570 F. Supp. 1055 (1983)

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The Kroger Co. v. Johnson & Johnson

United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
570 F. Supp. 1055 (1983)

Facts

The Kroger Company (plaintiff) filed suit against Johnson & Johnson (defendant), seeking a declaratory judgment that Kroger had not infringed Johnson & Johnson’s trademark. Johnson & Johnson alleged that Kroger and other companies had infringed its trademark for its pain reliever, Tylenol, by calling their pain relievers Actenol, Hydenol, and Supernol and by using similar packaging. A survey was conducted showing the potential for confusion. In the survey, consumers were shown a shelf that contained the pain relievers created by Kroger and the other companies for five seconds. Then, the survey participants were asked to state what products they had seen. Although Tylenol was not on the shelf, between 17 and 24 percent of those surveyed reported seeing Tylenol. Next, the interviewees were shown the same pain relievers and asked who they thought manufactured them. Twenty-three percent of those interviewed thought that Actenol, Kroger’s pain reliever, was manufactured by Tylenol, and 40 percent of respondents thought Tylenol had manufactured Hydenol and Supernol.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rubin, C.J.)

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