P&G suffers setback in court

Saturday, May 31, 2003

NEW YORK -- A judge has barred the Procter & Gamble Co. from claiming that its new tampon is superior to a product from rival Playtex Products Inc., forcing the giant consumer products company to recall its advertising and display campaign.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley's order, issued late Thursday and filed in court Friday, followed a jury verdict last week that awarded $2.96 million in damages to Westport, Conn.-based Playtex. Playtex had accused the Cincinnati-based P&G of falsely claiming that its product, Tampax Pearl, provided superior comfort, protection and absorbency.

In his order, Pauley blocked P&G from using words such as "superior," "better" or "more" in comparisons of its product to the Playtex tampon.

In a statement Friday, Playtex chief executive Michael Gallagher said his company expects the verdict and order will end P&G's "extensive use of false and misleading advertising."

P&G spokesman Jay Gooch said the company had already begun complying with the judge's order, but will continue to appeal the jury verdict.

Gooch said the company wanted to correct a statement last week in which it said the "most meaningful verdict" was handed down each day by thousands of women who bought Tampax Pearl.

"We completely respect the integrity of the court and the jury's verdict," Gooch said.

Playtex controls about 30 percent of the tampon market, while P&G has about 40 percent.

On the Net:

Procter & Gamble: http://www.pg.com/

Playtex: http://www.playtex.com/

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