Seven is a mystic number, not least to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which last week declared itself mystified as to why two sophisticated marketers have pursued their feud over allegations of Satanism across seven years of bitter litigation.
The row between Amway Corporation and Procter & Gamble centres around the latter's famous logo: a 'man in the moon' surrounded by thirteen stars. Although the logo was quietly dropped from packs some while ago, it continues to give rise to allegations of Satanist overtones – a rumour P&G claims has been spread by Amway
The appeals court upheld dismissal by a lower court of a libel suit filed by Amway against P&G in 1999. This claimed P&G, its Cincinnati law firm, and anti-Amway activist Sidney Schwartz libeled Amway when the latter posted on his website information from a P&G lawsuit that charged Amway with spreading the rumors of its association with Old Nick.
These were later fueled by unsubstantiated charges from unknown sources that an unnamed P&G president had promoted Satanic worship on a US talkshow.
P&G's suit against Amway was dismissed by a federal court in Utah, the decision being upheld earlier this year by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The latest ruling, while finding for P&G, effectively declares "a plague on both your houses" for their continued waste of courtroom time. Quoth the judgement:
"Although no decision from this Court – or any other, we predict – will end the hatred these two corporate giants harbor for each other, we hope that they will consider the impact of their continuing legal battle on the scarce resources of the courts, and decide to concentrate their creative talents on the more traditional methods of gaining competitive advantage and declare a ceasefire in the judicial arena."
But P&G was unswayed. "We're appealing the decisions in Texas and Utah," said a spokeswoman, "and we will continue to protect the interests and the reputation of the company against the spread of this malicious and false rumor."
Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff