|The Diaper Patent Wars|
In August 1985, Procter & Gamble filed a lawsuit contending that Kimberly Clark had infringed a patent for the heat-shrinkable material used in the elastic that had made Huggies so popular. Kimberly-Clark countered a year later by contending in an antitrust suit that Procter & Gamble's patent suit was actually an attempt to monopolize the diaper market.
After 7 years of legal wrangling and tens of millions of dollars of legal fees the parties settled.
The large "fan" at the top of this IPVision Multipatent Landscape Map™ shows Kimberly Clark US Patent 4,704,116 "Diapers with elasticized side pockets" which was filed on October 11, 1985. As of January 2008 it had been cited by 390 other patents. The smaller "fan" at the bottom of the map is Proctor & Gamble's US Patent 4,695,278 "Absorbent article having dual cuffs", which was also filed on October 11, 1985. It has been cited by 218 other patents.
As the two giant competitors fought it out in court, the generic manufacturer Paragon Trade Brands stole market share. After settling with Kimberly Clark, P&G sued Paragon for patent infringement and won. Paragon subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
Kimberly Clark has been busy patenting its diaper related technology, as witnessed by the over 300 Kimberly Clark patents that appear on this map (red topped boxes).
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