i think it is a retail lion usb.. how can i tell?
it says on the back:
Os X Lion
Mac Os x V10.7
2011 aple inc
To be honest, I don't know how to tell with a USB drive. With a recovery optical disc, if the disc has a greyish label rather then some colorful print label, then it is a "factory" recovery disc that is device specific.
From doing a little Googling, you may have a "retail" Lion USB drive. In addition, I don't recall if Apple actually supplied any recovery USB drives with Lion on it since it was around the time of Lion that they started having new Macs come with Internet recovery included. For example, my newer 2012 MBA did not come with any USB or optical recovery drive/disc and instead relied on the recovery partition and Internet recovery, while my older 2010 MBA did come with a USB recovery drive (with Snow Leopard on it…aka 10.6.x).
You may have to call Apple to ask them if it is a retail USB drive or a "factory" recovery USB drive that is machine specific.
Do you have another Mac? If so, then you could put the new drive in an external enclosure, hook it up to that other Mac as an external drive, and then boot from the USB Lion drive to install Lion to the external drive. Then you pull the drive out of the enclosure and put it in the MBP. This assume that it is a retail Lion USB drive and you cannot get it to work with your MBP for some reason.