Inventor sues Heinz ketchup packs

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

Interesting article in the USA TODAY this afternoon.

A Michigan inventor is suing Heinz ketchup for stealing his innovative new design for ketchup packets. Yes. Ketchup packets. Those little bothersome, intolerable plastic annoyances are the center of this fight.

David Wawrzynski said he had come with the dippable packet design long ago. In fact, it was patented in 1997, over 10 years before he even pitched it to Heinz in 2008.

Wawrzynski even met with executives over at Heinz about his decision and was asked to create 100 sample packs for testing in a focus group.

Unfortunately, the company backed out before he got to make the 100 samples. But when Heinz released their new design, Wawrzynski was enraged because they had copied his entire concept.

Heinz declines any wrongdoing, but I’d be interested to see how this one turns out. I mean, if Taco Bell can lose a lawsuit in 1998 over a company saying the fast food joint copied their idea of a talking Chihuahua, then anything is possible, right? Besides, it seems to me that this clearly was Wawrzynski’s original idea. The proof is in the packet.

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Comments
  1. taylorhaag says:

    Yeah! This entry made me furious because it reminded me of my ketchup packet design that I pitched to Heinz. It involved using old contact lens cases filled with ketchup–they were travel friendly and looked real cool.
    I sure do hope that patent holds up.

  2. Laurence Henriquez says:

    You would think someone would have come up with a better design for Ketchup packets in the past. They are super annoying to open sometimes, and most of the time one packet it nowhere near enough. I support Wawrzynsk, since Heinz controls half of the ketchup market in the US, they can spare some change and help a brother and and have him made. Especially since he patented the idea of a dipable ketchup container in the first place… strange it took till 1998 for someone to figure it out.

  3. Laurence Henriquez says:

    You would think someone would have come up with a better design for Ketchup packets in the past. They are super annoying to open sometimes, and most of the time one packet it nowhere near enough. I support Wawrzynsk, since Heinz controls half of the ketchup market in the US, they can spare some change and help a brother and and have him made. Especially since he patented the idea of a dippable ketchup container in the first place… strange it took till 1998 for someone to figure it out.

  4. robinsonrb says:

    The way the patent business is set up, its all based on ideas, things that unless written down, documented with pictures, etc, are very fluid concepts. The only thing that would work is that if when a company interviews inventors and engineers, the ideas concepts should be documented in some way so that if it goes to court the company would have to show those documents that that concept was presented to them before they came up with the idea. A big problem with cases like this is WHEN the concept was used and this would definately solve the problem

  5. burchettesa says:

    I support Wawrzynsk on this one! I’ve always hated ketchup packets, to the point of not using ketchup sometimes if the only available form were packets. I hope that Heinz did not purposefully take this idea, and I will be interested to see how it all plays out.

  6. Wow, this is funny. People get so defensive over things when really, they stole the idea as well. This design isn’t new, it’s just new to Heinz. I guess I would be upset as well if I were the inventor but… he didn’t really invent anything himself. While I don’t want to support a corporation who takes advantage of “nobodys,” I don’t want to back up a semi-theif either.

  7. rachelanoel says:

    I agree with Jill. I would absolutely back the little guy before a big company, but doesn’t this packet just remind everyone of those little jam packets you get in a breakfast joint? He didn’t event something so revolutionary that it is unmistakably his own, but he shouldn’t get taken advantage of either.

  8. rachelanoel says:

    I agree with Jill. I would absolutely back the little guy before a big company, but doesn’t this packet just remind everyone of those little jam packets you get in a breakfast joint? He didn’t invent something so revolutionary that it is unmistakably his own, but he shouldn’t get taken advantage of either.

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