The parent company of BodyLab, a health and fitness brand endorsed by actor and musician Jennifer Lopez, has filed a lawsuit against artichoke water maker Arty Water. The lawsuit, filed in January in U.S. District Court of Nevada, alleges that Arty Water engaged in a “brazen theft of Plaintiff’s intellectual property even includes using the photograph of Plaintiff’s endorsement partner Jennifer Lopez, the famous actor, television personality, and singer.”
Fitco, which operates BodyLab, described as an “innovative, research-based line of health and fitness formulas designed specifically for a woman’s body,” claims that Arty Water “stole Plaintiff’s intellectual property in order to drive traffic to its Website and increase its sales.”
At the heart of the lawsuit is story titled “Artichoke Your Way Into Smaller Jeans” that was posted on Arty Water’s website on Nov. 19, 2014, according to the filing. The story had previously appeared on BodyLab’s website, and was accompanied by images of Lopez on the Arty Water site, implying an endorsement, according to Fitco.
Fitco notes that “below the date and title is a prominently-displayed copy of Plaintiff’s BodyLab and For Women By Women trademarks” and “an image of Lopez, together with another copy, next to Lopez’s image, of Plaintiff’s trademarks,” each of which are owned by Fitco.
In a call with BevNET, Arty Water co-founder and COO Yen Tran said that the use of BodyLab trademarks was the fault of a “novice web designer” employed by the company. Referring to the “Artichoke Your Way Into Smaller Jeans” story posted on the Arty Water website, Tran said that “we mistakenly used it to help with the education of artichokes.” He noted that Fitco initially sent Arty Water a cease and desist letter “a few months ago” before seeking a trial by jury.
Fitco alleges that Arty Water’s unauthorized use of BodyLab material “leads an unwitting internet browser to believe that Plaintiff’s intellectual property and branding associated with Plaintiff’s BodyLab brand are associated in some way” with the artichoke water brand.
“As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered damages that include but are not limited to lost sales of its products, trademark infringement and dilution, and damage to Plaintiff’s existing and potential business relations,” the lawsuit reads.
Fitco is seeking a permanent injunction against Arty Water and its employees to end any current and future use of BodyLab material, compensation for damages to its brand, costs and attorney fees associated with the lawsuit and a judgement for punitive damages.
Tran said that Arty Water and Fitco are currently in discussions regarding the lawsuit, and he’s hopeful for a resolution “very soon.”
Meanwhile, the company is keeping a lower profile and is changing directions: While Arty Water’s website is accessible, its products are no longer available for sale on Amazon.com, and the company has not updated its social media accounts in recent weeks. Tran explained that Arty Water has been “in hibernation the last couple weeks,” amid a revamp and repositioning of the brand. He said that company is refocusing its efforts as it relates to the branding and marketing strategy for Arty Water and aiming for a relaunch within a few months. When asked if the reworking of Arty Water was tied to the Fitco lawsuit, Tran replied “no, not at all.”
“The rebrand and repositioning has a been a strategic point that we began at the end of the year to reassess the brand to see where we are and where we want to go with it,” Tran said.