H-E-B claims companies infringing on its private label cooler

H-E-B's Kodi cooler

H-E-B has filed a lawsuit against Home Depot and other companies alleging that they have infringed on patents for the Texas grocer's private brand Kodi cooler.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, H-E-B seeks court orders recalling the alleged infringing coolers and directing the destruction of the containers as well as the plates and molds used to make them and all related advertising materials.

“At H-E-B, we invest heavily in innovation across our company to provide our customers the best quality products and customer experience available,” spokeswoman Dya Campos told the Express-News. “As a result, we cannot be idle spectators while others use without permission the intellectual property H-E-B and its partners have worked so hard to develop. While we would prefer to not go to court, H-E-B will vigorously fight to protect our investments and brand."

H-E-B filed its lawsuit Friday in federal court in Waco, Texas, which increasingly is becoming a popular venue for patent-infringement lawsuits, the newspaper said.

A Home Depot spokeswoman told the Express-News that it received the lawsuit Monday and was reviewing it, but had no comment on the claims. 

According to the newspaper, the lawsuit says Brett Ramsey, H-E-B’s senior buyer for grills and coolers, began exploring better cooler technology after a “frustrating” experience with his brother-in-law’s cooler while on his boat. That led H-E-B to two Kentucky inventors who had created “improved cooler technology.” Eric Wooldridge and Daniel Bailey had filed an application to patent the technology in 2012.

According to the Express-News, the grocer spends about $300,000 a year marketing the private label Kodi brand through various media. 

The article first appeared in Progressive Grocer.