Friday, November 20, 2009

J. M. Smucker makes P&G acquisitions work well

J.M. Smucker, best known to patent attorneys for the so-called "peanut butter & jelly sandwich" patent, is doing very well with the acquisitions it has made from Procter & Gamble. A Reuters story on 20 Nov 09 begins: J.M. Smucker Co, best known for its peanut butter and jelly, posted higher-than-expected quarterly results, driven by strong margins at its Folgers coffee business, and raised its full-year profit outlook, sending its shares up 5 percent.

There are IP stories throughout the Smucker saga. Of recent vintage, one notes that many of the brands acquired by Smucker, cast off by P&G, are turning into money makers. Related to all the confabulations concerning "valuing" IP, one sees that "who" owns the IP, or the product, can have a great deal to do with the value. You can't "value" IP in the absence of a plan for using it, as the Xerox story illustrates, in both a positive (xerography) and a negative (mouse) sense.

Smucker also got brands such as Pillsbury flour, Crisco oils, Jif peanut butter, and Hungry Jack.

Of Crisco, from marketplace:

Crisco maker Procter & Gamble was a pioneer in the emerging science of creating demand. Historian Susan Strasser says the Crisco experiment started in 1911, when the company was selling Ivory soap. Cottonseed oil was a key ingredient.

{trademark angle} Originally, they tried to call it Crispo, but then they discovered that a cracker factory already had the trademark.

Crisco's crowning achievement was creating demand for something nobody knew they wanted.

IPBiz: can anyone say Chester Carlson?

**IPBiz posts

Return of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich patent?

Smucker's US 6,004,596 is under re-examination


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