U.S. Water News Online
NEW YORK -- A nutrient-enhanced water maker has sued
PepsiCo Inc., saying the bottled drink giant was imitating its recipe
and the look of its bottle with a new line of water products.
Energy Brands Inc., which does business as Glaceau, filed the
lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. It sought unspecified
damages and to stop PepsiCo and a subsidiary, South Beach Beverage
Co. Inc., from marketing imitations of its products.
Energy Brands, based in Whitestone, N.Y., said in its lawsuit that
PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., had begun marketing a SoBe Life
Water product that was vastly similar to its own Vitaminwater brand.
The lawsuit described Vitaminwater as "Glaceau's pioneering and
market-leading nutrient-enhanced water product" and said SoBe Life
Water is packaged in a similar manner with similar ingredients,
color, sweetener type and calorie content.
Energy Brands said PepsiCo launched its product only after first
trying to acquire the Vitaminwater brand earlier this year and being
told it was not for sale.
After copying the product in every way, PepsiCo encouraged its
sales agents to stock SoBe Life Water in Vitaminwater's retail
display coolers, cases, racks and boxes, Energy Brands claimed.
Energy Brands said it introduced the Vitaminwater brand in 1999
and has since expanded the product line to include 13 variations,
each with its own flavor, color and vitamin blend. Sales of SoBe Life
Water began several weeks ago.
PepsiCo said Energy Brands overreacted.
"This is just an overreaction by Glaceau to competition in the
marketplace," said Dave DeCecco, a PepsiCo spokesman. "Consumers have
told us they clearly see the difference between SoBe Life Water and
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