Heinz has dismissed a lawsuit from a US businessman that claims the food giant used his idea for a new way of packaging ketchup without paying him.

David Wawrzynski is suing Heinz in a Michigan court over the company’s Dip & Squeeze product, which he claims is based on his Little Dipper packaging concept.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Wawrzynski, who owns a company delivering to Chinese and Thai restaurants, secured a patent for the Little Dipper idea in 1997. Sidetracked by his own business, he did not pitch the concept to Heinz until 2008.

That year, Wawrzynski met with Heinz executives at the company’s HQ in Pittsburgh and was asked to provide 100 samples of his invention for testing, the newspaper reported yesterday (25 October).

Heinz is then said to have backed away from a deal with the businessman, saying it wanted to develop its own idea. In February this year, Heinz launched Dip & Squeeze, which Wawrzynski says is based on his concept despite being shaped differently. The businessman has sued Heinz for implied contract and unjust enrichment, the newspaper said.

However, a spokesperson for Heinz brushed off the legal action. “Heinz strongly believes that the lawsuit filed by Mr. Wawrzynski is groundless and has no legal merit,” the spokesperson told just-food.

The spokesperson declined to comment on whether Heinz executives had met Wawrzynski two years ago.