Procter & Gamble and McLane Company, Inc. have announced that they have reached a settlement in a lawsuit that had been filed by P&G alleging infringement on four of its brands.

P&G had accused McLane of trade dress infringement on the four brands, in addition to unfair competition. McLane, a Texas-based food and non-food products distributor, had denied the accusations, brought by P&G in a suit filed in December 2005, but has agreed with immediate effect to redesign the packaging of its products. No other terms of the settlement were made public.

“Our objective was to put an end to what we view as infringement of our package designs,” said Jim Johnson, P&G’s chief legal officer.”We simply must protect our brand designs. This settlement addresses our infringement concerns and we are gratified McLane will now compete in the marketplace with different package designs.”

Bill Fendrick, vice president of merchandising for McLane’s grocery distribution division, said: “We are pleased to have reached a settlement that enables both companies to move forward without the shadow of protracted litigation”.

Fendrick added that McLane valued its relationship with P&G which, as the largest consumer goods company in the US, was one of its biggest suppliers.