DRTV Diet Supplement Marketer Sues Rival, Alleges Knockoff

DRTV health supplement marketer Sunset Health Products is suing competitor Celebrity Direct Products, charging that Celebrity “knocked off” its diet program.

Sunset Health, Los Angeles, claimed in a lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that Celebrity Direct's Original Hollywood Celebrity Diet had virtually identical contents, labeling and marketing material as its Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet.

According to Sunset Health, Celebrity Direct had agreed to partner with Sunset for direct response print advertising and for distribution of the product. After the relationship ended, Sunset engaged in DRTV marketing for its product as well.

Sunset Health said it later discovered Celebrity Direct's product and asked its former partner to cease and desist. Lawrence Turner, president of Sunset Health, claimed that consumers had mistakenly bought Celebrity Direct's product and later called his company to complain that they had been misled.

A lawyer representing Celebrity Direct said the company had not received a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment.

The lawsuit charges Celebrity Direct with violation of the Lanham Trademark Act, trademark dilution, deceptive business practices, fraud and breach of contract and implied covenant of good faith. Sunset Health seeks a permanent injunction against Celebrity Direct and unspecified financial remedies.

Sunset Health's Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet launched in December 1997 and is available in 35,000 retail stores in addition to direct sales, according to Sunset Health. Sales for 2001 are expected to reach 5 million units.

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