TV mogul Oprah Winfrey has launched a massive lawsuit against more than 50 businesses over allegations they used her to advertise their products without permission.
The talk show host has teamed up with TV expert Dr. Mehmet Oz, a regular on her famous show, to take legal action against a string of little-known firms who they allege used the pair's images and names to endorse various beauty products and dietary supplements.
Winfrey's companies, Harpo Inc. and OW Licensing Co., and Oz's Zo Co firm filed papers in New York on Wednesday (19Aug09) to stop the "unauthorised and unlawful use" of their names, pictures, voices and trademarks which have "gravely injured" the duo's reputations.
The papers state: "These defendants are willfully capitalising 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 products at the centre of the lawsuit are said to include cosmetics, such as anti-wrinkle creams, diet supplements and tooth-whitening kits.