Are Georgia-Pacific's Paper Towel Lawsuits All Wet?


There has been a fair amount of ink spilled in the IP blogosphere about last month's Georgia Pacific v. Von Drehle opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This is one of several cases that Georgia-Pacific has brought to stop the "stuffing" of off-brand (i.e. non-Georgia-Pacific brand) paper towels in GP's proprietary enMotion® paper towel dispensers.

As the Fourth Circuit's opinion describes it, Georgia-Pacific is basically attempting to establish a business model in the hand sanitation market much like how soft drinks are sold in the fast food and foodservice channels: lease the equipment to distributors and end-users, and require that only the lessor's product be distributed in the leased equipment. In other words, when you walk up to a self-serve soda fountain that has a Pepsi logo, you expect that it will dispense Pepsi® cola.

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