Japan’s cosmetic giant, Kao Corporation has filed infringement lawsuits against German manufacturer of consumer goods Henkel and its Japanese subsidiary Schwarzkopf & Henkel K.K. claiming the Düsseldorf-headquartered firm has infringed its intellectual property rights for a foaming hair-colouring agent.

Kao filed two suits, one in Düsseldorf and another in Tokyo, demanding that Henkel ceases the sale of products infringing its patents and pays compensations for damages.

According to Kao, Henkel’s foam type hair colour products marketed under the brand Schwarzkopf Perfect Mousse, which was launched in September 2010, would infringe one of its German Utility Model. Kao also alleges that foam type hair colour products Fresh Light marketed in Japan by Schwarzkopf & Henkel K.K. since September 2010 also infringe one of its Japanese patents.

Kao’s German Utility Model and Japanese Patent relate to a two agent foam type hair dye in a non-aerosol vessel and are key intellectual property rights that support Kao’s beauty care business,” said the Japanese company in a release.

After starting development of this technology in 2002, Kao commercially launched the first corresponding applications in Japan in July 2007, thereby establishing a "foam type" category in the hair dye market. Kao also launched products using this technology in Hong Kong in July 2009, and thereafter in Singapore, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Sales were initiated in the United States, Thailand, and Taiwan at the beginning of this year and Kao says it is planning to expand sales to other countries.