Lauren Blakely

Wawrzynski v. H.J. Heinz Co.: The Lucky Ketchup Packet

For years, the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit have dismissed state law claims by small inventors on the grounds that federal patent law preempts state laws offering patent-like protections. Recently, David Wawrzynski, a man who claims he invented the idea for Heinz’s new “Dip & Squeeze®” ketchup packet, filed state law claims against Heinz alleging it stole his idea. Instead of dismissing his claims, the Federal Circuit transferred the case to another court for a decision on the merits. This Casenote explores precedent and policy in an effort to understand why claims related to this ketchup packet invention were lucky enough to escape dismissal.