HICKORY, NC, April 10, 2012 (Press Release) -A third federal trial court has dismissed Georgia-Pacific's ongoing efforts to stifle competition and change the marketplace for paper towels. Georgia-Pacific sued von Drehle and several of von Drehle's distributors, claiming that when von Drehle towels are stuffed into Georgia-Pacific's enMotion dispensers, Georgia-Pacific's trademark and other rights are violated. On March 28, 2012, the federal trial court in Raleigh, NC, dismissed Georgia-Pacific's suit against von Drehle, joining two other federal trial courts and the federal appeals court in St. Louis, Missouri, which had each previously dismissed identical claims by Georgia-Pacific against von Drehle distributors.
Those courts all agreed that stuffing is an established, legal method of competing in the industry, practiced by Georgia-Pacific and others, and they all agreed that stuffing one brand of towels into dispensers bearing another manufacturer's marks does not violate the trademark laws or Georgia-Pacific's other claimed rights. Those courts rejected Georgia-Pacific's efforts to change the rules of the marketplace after decades of long-standing practice.
The court in Raleigh found that, since Georgia-Pacific had already lost the earlier lawsuits against von Drehle's distributors, Georgia-Pacific was not allowed another bite at the apple against von Drehle. That court was so persuaded by von Drehle's argument on this point that it threw out a jury verdict and found that Georgia-Pacific's claims were barred.
"Since the beginning we believed that this was nothing more than an attempt by Georgia-Pacific to control the market by limiting competition under the threat of litigation," said Raymond von Drehle. "Rather than working hard in the marketplace, Georgia-Pacific attempted to change the industry rules established over decades through lawyers and the courts. We are pleased that all four courts which have considered Georgia-Pacific's efforts have rejected them."
Steve von Drehle added, "We are also pleased that these courts have not given any weight to Georgia-Pacific's claims that von Drehle's toweling is inferior to Georgia-Pacific's. Our experience is that end-users find our towel to be as good as, if not better than, Georgia-Pacific's toweling."