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Nope-rah: Winfrey Sues Over Use Of Name

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Aug 20, 2009 2:20PM

2009_08_20_oprah.jpg If you've ever skim your email's spam folder before deleting them all forever, maybe you've seen emails about dietary supplements. Well, there's now a chance they're being sued by Oprah. The Great O has filed a federal trademark-infringement suit against dealers (around 40 in all) of dietary supplements and has even lent a hand to state attorney general Lisa Madigan who has filed three similar lawsuits. The problem is that Oprah pal Dr. Oz has given props to acai berries. But - as our spam folders can attest - there are legions of supplements that use acai berries and some have begun using Doc Oz and Oprah to sell their products even though neither O has ever officially endorsed a product. Given some of the scrutiny she's been under lately, we can understand why Oprah is cracking the whip.

According to the Tribune:

The same phenomenon has occurred involving the health benefits of other substances. "The subject is discussed on the show, then the scams start. It's brazen," [Harpo, Inc. attorney Marc] Rachman said. But acai berries have been a particular magnet for alleged misdeeds.

Winfrey's Web site has fielded more than 2,000 complaints related to acai-berry-related products, Rachman said. Some involve viewers who mistakenly believed that a product was actually endorsed by Oz or Winfrey; others are from consumers who felt they'd been defrauded, Rachman said.

To put it in perspective, Oprah endorsing these supplements is like her endorsing a Blu-Ray release of Battlefield Earth because she's pals with John Travolta. So don't believe the emails, kids. It's in the spam folder for a reason.