Source: 4/26/2010

MonaVie Settles Oprah and Dr Oz Lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MonaVie (, maker of premier acai-based nutritional and energy drink products, today announces that the lawsuit brought against it and other defendants by Harpo Inc., owner of the Oprah Winfrey family of trademarks, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, a doctor who regularly appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and now host of "The Dr. Oz Show," for the unauthorized use of their names and images, has been amicably resolved.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court on August 19, 2009, named more than 40 companies that have used Oprah's and Dr. Oz's names, trademarks and images without permission to promote their products, including acai related products. In addition to making improper and illegal health claims-from cancer cures to promises of weight loss-these companies frequently offer trials of acai products, gather consumer credit card information, and then bill the customer shipping and handling fees to which they had not agreed.

MonaVie was named in the lawsuit for incidents involving unapproved distributor websites and social networking sites-all of which are now non-operational or shut down. "At MonaVie we do not condone the unauthorized use of Oprah Winfrey's and Dr. Oz's names, images and trademarks and regret that consumers were misled in any way by others," says MonaVie President, Dell Brown. "As a first time player in the acai nutritional beverage category, we too have experienced frustration at seeing our own trademarks and licenses misused."

MonaVie is committed to the success of its distributors, and in doing so, employs a large staff of compliance officers who seek to ensure that each and every independent distributor follows proper guidelines in advertising their business.

In an agreement among the companies, MonaVie will take every reasonable action to prevent independent distributors from using the names, images or trademarks of Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz without permission to advertise their businesses. Any distributor who is found in violation of this agreement will be subject to steep penalties including, but not limited to, the withholding of commissions. In connection with the resolution of the lawsuit, MonaVie has agreed to enter into a stipulated court approved injunction to be filed in the case which addresses the claims made in the lawsuit. Under the injunction, MonaVie is agreeing not to use without permission Oprah Winfrey's or Dr. Oz's names, images, or trademarks in any future advertising.

"Although many television, entertainment and heath personalities have advocated for the health benefits of the acai berry, at no time did Ms. Winfrey or Dr. Oz endorse MonaVie's products," says Brown. "With interest in the acai berry at an all-time high, we are totally committed to protecting consumers and alerting them to beware of false advertising regarding the acai berry-this is the MonaVie Promise."

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