Want To Plant The Seed That Famous Brands Back Your MLM Product If They Do Not? Get Ready To Pony Up For Legal Bills: Evolv Banned From Using Trademarks Of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University Of Texas
UPDATED 1:18 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) An MLM company that allegedly planted the seed that its bottled-water product had passed muster with a prestigious university and medical-research facility has agreed to stop making the claims and pay its own costs of litigation after agreeing to a settlement.
The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center alleged last year that EvolvHealth LLC and HealtH2O Products LLC had infringed their trademarks and made confusing claims about limited research performed on behalf of the firms.
M.D. Anderson is one of the most recognizable names in the world in the field of cancer research. The MLM firms used the center’s name to hoodwink the marketplace into believing it had conducted “extensive testing” of Evolv, a product whose base was Houston tap water infused with a formula known as Archaea Active, according to the lawsuit.
Cancer patients were being misled and potentially harmed by the claims, and the value of the university and center’s trade names and their standing in the scientific community were being harmed through bids by the defendants to plant the seed that the prestigious facilities endorsed the product after examining it thoroughly.
Nearly 800,000 cancer patients have sought treatment at M.D. Anderson since 1944, and neither the facility nor the university ever endorsed Evolv, despite published suggestions that they had, according to the lawsuit.
M.D. Anderson claimed in the lawsuit that it had conducted only “preliminary” and “limited” testing under contract with HealtH2O to look at the anti-inflammatory properties of the Archaea Active formula and had conducted no conclusive, comprehensive research.
Regardless, the product was positioned in the MLM sphere as having undergone “rigorous” testing. M.D. Anderson’s trademark even was placed on the “label of the Evolv product” and on websites operated by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.
The defendants’ claims planted the seed that “M.D. Anderson performed more extensive testing than actually occurred, and that M.D. Anderson has made scientific findings regarding the Evolv product’s efficacy, safety or beneficial value in treating or preventing cancer,” the lawsuit alleged.
Even the preliminary testing trumpeted as rigorous and extensive by MLM pitchmen was not scientifically confirmed, according to the lawsuit.
After the university complained to the defendants, it then was asked to enter into an agreement that would give Evolv and HealtH2O a “worldwide, royalty-free license” to use M.D. Anderson’s name in a marketing material for a product largely consisting of common tap water, according to the lawsuit.
Neither the university nor the center agreed to the licensing proposal that occurred after the fact, but the defendants kept using the prestigious names in their pitches, according to the lawsuit.
Eventually HealtH2O tried to turn the tables by asserting counterclaims against the university and M.D. Anderson, but that effort collapsed with the settlement.
To settle the case, the defendants now have agreed to a permanent injunction that bars them from using the famous trademarks and “any iteration or variation thereof.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants acknowledged no wrongdoing, but agreed neither to state nor imply that the university or M.D. Anderson endorsed the product.
Had the case gone to trial and the university and M.D. Anderson prevailed, the defendants could have faced treble damages.
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