Cranberry supplier countersues Ocean Spray over patent

06/25/2009 11:58:00 AM
Andy Nelson

A cranberry grower has countersued the top U.S. cranberry marketer over a dispute about a dried berry product.

On June 23, Decas Cranberry Products Inc., Carver, Mass., sued Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., Middleboro, Mass. The suit is in response to one filed by Ocean Spray in October, which claims that Decas infringed on Ocean Spray's patent for a sweetened dried cranberry product, according to a Decas news release.

Decas' countersuit contends that Ocean Spray's suit is not based on merit, but on a desire to hinder the grower's ability to seek outside investors to help the company grow. Decas claims that cranberry growers were exploring signing agreements with Decas at the time Ocean Spray filed its suit.

The Ocean Spray suit concerns Decas's Premium Dried Cranberry product, introduced in 1999. Decas patented the product in 2002.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, Ocean Spray claims Decas's product infringes on a "fruit extraction and infusion" patent issued to Ocean Spray in 1994.



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