NEW YORK (Reuters) - Talk show host Oprah Winfrey and television expert Dr. Mehmet Oz, a frequent guest on Winfrey’s show, sued more than 50 businesses on Wednesday, saying they had falsely claimed the pair endorsed various beauty products and dietary supplements.
Winfrey’s companies Harpo Inc. and OW Licensing Co. and Oz and his company Zo Co. sued the little-known firms located throughout America in a federal lawsuit in New York seeking to stop the “unauthorized and unlawful use” of their names, pictures, voices and trademarks.
“These defendants are willfully capitalizing on plaintiffs’ valuable reputation and intellectual property rights to lure consumers into ordering their infringing products on the false premise that they have been tested or recommended by Ms Winfrey and/or Dr Oz when they have not,” the lawsuit said.
The suit the actions had “gravely injured” their reputations.
The lawsuit said many of the offers made by the companies enticed consumers into “credit card scams or other fraudulent schemes.”
The products in the dispute include dietary supplements, cosmetics such as cellulite and anti-wrinkle creams and over-the-counter items such as tooth-whitening products.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Osterman