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CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble Co. on Friday filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola Co. alleging that the soft drink maker and former joint venture partner is infringing on patented technology that adds calcium to fruit juices, Reuters reports.
P&G claimed that Coca-Cola's Minute Maid juice division had used exclusively licensed P&G technology in its "Minute Maid Premium Calcium Rich Home Squeezed Style Orange Juice" and "Minute Maid Premium Calcium Original Orange Juice" drinks.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. Federal District Court in Cincinnati, Ohio, where P&G is based, contends that the technology was exclusively licensed to Tropicana Products Inc., a division of PepsiCo Inc.
P&G is seeking an injunction to stop the alleged violation of its patent, which has been in force since 1988. The consumer products firm also is demanding undisclosed monetary damages from Coca-Cola.
"P&G is firmly committed to protecting its proprietary technologies and will continue to take action to protect those technologies," Mike Griffith, president of P&G's global beverages division said in a statement.
"We think the suit is totally without merit," said Dan Schafer, a spokesman for Minute Maid. "We have been producing our calcium-fortified orange juice since 1987 and we make it today the same way we made it in 1987."
Schafer said that Coca-Cola, which has had its own patent for the production of calcium-fortified juices since 1989, used different ingredients to produce the juices.