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Frustrated with the difficulties of juggling fast food and condiment packets while eating in his car, Scott White, 47, says he invented a dual-purpose container that made it easy for drivers to put ketchup on their food.The Chicago resident filed a patent application in 2005 for his invention, called the CondiCup, before pitching it the following summer to ketchup giant H.J. Heinz Co., which rejected the design, court documents state.
Now, White is suing Heinz in federal court for patent infringement, alleging the company stole his idea when it later rolled out the Dip & Squeeze product. The suit alleges the Dip & Squeeze is identical to White’s invention and that Heinz knew of White’s product before it unveiled the design.
“Heinz saw (White’s) vision for a revolutionary new condiment container that would become as ubiquitous as the traditional ketchup packet,” the lawsuit states. White received patent approval for his design last month.
Heinz denounced the allegation, saying it won a similar lawsuit earlier this year. The company holds more than a dozen patents, two of which it says apply to the Dip & Squeeze container.
“This is another frivolous lawsuit, and we will aggressively defend our position and demonstrate that the allegations are groundless and without merit,” the company said in a statement.
White declined to comment per the advice of his attorneys, who would not elaborate on the complaint other than saying it has merit.
“We don’t try our lawsuits in the media,” said R. Dan Boulware, one of White’s lawyers. “I don’t think the courts look favourably on attorneys who do that.”
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