One week ago, there was an article published about a local clumping kitty litter war that is going on in the Chicagoland area. It is between Oil-Dri Corporation of America that is headquartered at 410 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Nestle Corporation, whose main headquarters are in Switzerland, but has a secondary headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
The gist of the war is that Oil-Dri Corporation of America has filed a lawsuit claiming that Nestle Corporation stole their patented idea for clumping cat litter. While filing a lawsuit is fine and dandy, questions remain as to whether the suit has any merit.
Oil-Dri actually files for their patent in 1999 – which for all intents and purposes is 21 years ago; typical patents are good for 14 years and measured from the date that the patent is granted for the design in question. Although Oil-Dri had some financial difficulties and other issues in the 2000s which delayed the release of the litter, does this give them grounds to file suit on Nestle for supposedly using the Oil-Dri recipe for clumping cat litter.
To be specific, Oil-Dri is claiming that Nestle stole their recipe and used it in their Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance and Occasional Cleaning cat litters. According to the article posted last week, Nestle feels as though Oil-Dri’s lawsuit is completely without merit, which may be true because a voicemail was left for a Ms. Ross at Oil-Dri and she has yet to return the call and defend Oil-Dri’s initiative (although this could be due to the pending lawsuit and their lawyer, Michael Mazza from Glen Ellyn) decidedly advised the employees of Oil-Dri not to talk while the suit was pending.
One thing that is certain is that Oil-Dri should be ready to support their claim because an organization as large and well-known as Nestle Corporation will be ready to do battle; as Bill Salzman, spokesman for Nestle Purina PetCare, stated in last week’s article, ‘Nestle intends to vigorously defend ourselves through the legal process.’ A corporation as large and well-known as Nestle will surely wage war against a smaller corporation like Oil-Dri.
Hopefully all will soon be resolved in the clumping cat litter industry and both companies survive and thrive with the products that they offer. No one wants to see issues of any type where animals are concerned. Animals are ordinarily peaceful animals – especially felines. Couldn’t those that provide them health and welfare products just be the same?