Mediation fails in lawsuit alleging Heinz stole idea for Dip & Squeeze; case is ‘groundless’ says Heinz

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Mediation fails in Heinz Dip & Squeeze lawsuit

Related tags H. j. heinz company Ketchup

Attempts to use mediation to resolve a lawsuit alleging that Heinz stole the idea for its Dip & Squeeze ketchup packs have failed, with the case now likely to go to trial.

Plaintiff David Wawrzynski claims that he presented his idea for a dual-opening packet dubbed ‘the Little Dipper’ to Heinz in April 2008, and was asked to develop samples and marketing ideas for focus groups, but that communications “mysteriously and abruptly" ​stopped in October 2009. In December 2009, he received a letter from Heinz’s attorneys informing him that the company was not interested in his ideas.

Two months later, Heinz unveiled the Dip & Squeeze​ pack, which Wawrzynski alleged used his ideas by allowing users to dip food directly into it or tear off a small corner to squeeze out the ketchup. Heinz vigorously rejected his claims.

Judge: This is a matter for a jury to decide

The two sides went into mediation on January 14 after a Pennsylvania federal court denied Heinz’s request for a summary judgment in the case, which has been dragging on for more than four years.

In an order dated January 7, US district judge Arthur J. Schwab noted that although Heinz presented evidence showing that it had started working on a dual-function condiment container before the April 2008 meeting, Wawrzynski had also provided evidence suggesting that Heinz had not hit upon a winning concept.

“Given the evidence presented by both parties to this lawsuit​,” added Schwab, “whether … the plaintiff’s ideas were novel and concrete are questions for the jury.” 


Heinz: Lawsuit is groundless and has no legal merit

Wawrzynski owns a 1997 patent for a condiment packet that allows users to dip food into it. From that idea, he developed a “separate and distinct​” condiment packet that he called the Little Dipper, which allowed users to either dip food into it or squeeze out the contents.

From a legal perspective, he is not alleging patent infringement, but breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment, noting that if Heinz used his design and/or his marketing materials, he should be “paid for his efforts​”.

However, Heinz SVP corporate and government affairs Michael Mullen told FoodNavigator-USA that Heinz “continues to believe that the lawsuit filed by Mr. Wawrzynski is groundless and has no legal merit”.

The case is Wawrzynski v. H.J. Heinz Co.​, No. 11-1098 in the US district court for the western district of Pennsylvania. 

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steal at will

Posted by staff,

'he is not alleging patent infringement'

That may be because of recent changes to patent law by Congress and the courts which have greatly eroded patent rights for small entities allowing large infringers to nearly steal at will.

Don’t fall for propaganda from China and large invention thieves. Just because they call it patent "reform" doesn't mean it is.

It’s about property rights and jobs. When government fails to uniformly and justly enforce property rights they contribute to the wealth and power of the well placed few, suppress the ability and rights of the rest to make better lives for themselves and their families, and support giant monopolies that enslave and impoverish the public and commandeer the government. We all remember ‘too big to fail' which led to the last economic disaster.

Property rights and jobs in America are now hanging from a frayed thread. These changes are killing our small and startup firms and the jobs they would have created. Some in Congress and the White House continue to follow the lead of their giant multinational campaign donors like lambs...pulling America along to the slaughter.

All this patent troll and ‘reform’ talk is mere dissembling by China, huge multinational thieves and their paid puppets. If you tell a lie often enough and can dupe others to repeat that lie, eventually it is accepted as fact. As Mark Twain said, 'truth is not hard to kill, and (that) a lie well told is immortal'. Those who use the amorphous phrase 'patent troll' expose themselves as thieves, duped, or doped and perpetuate the lie. They have already damaged the American patent system so that property rights are teetering on lawlessness. Simply put, their intent is to legalize theft -to twist and weaken the patent system so it can only be used by them and no one else. Then they can steal at will and destroy their small competitors AND WITH THEM THE JOBS THEY WOULD HAVE CREATED. For the last several years now they have been ransacking and looting small entities taking everything they can carry. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more American jobs to China and elsewhere overseas.

Do you know how to make a Stradivarius violin? Neither does anyone else. Why? There was no protection for creations in his day so he like everyone else protected their creations by keeping them secret. Civilization has lost countless creations and discoveries over the ages for the same reason. Think we should get rid of or weaken patent rights? Think again.

Most important for America is what the patent system does for America’s economy. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they acknowledged inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity AND THE JOBS the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the American economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system, we force inventors underground like Stradivarius and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. For a robust and stable economy America depends on a strong patent system accessible to all -large and small, not the watered down weak system the large multinationals and China are foisting on America.

For the truth, please see

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Typical Corp Conduct

Posted by Ronald J Riley,

Big business has a long track record of stealing others ideas and intellectual property. They are also experts at forging documents.

Ronald J Riley
President - Professional Inventors Alliance

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