Lifestyle Lift Holding, Inc. v. Real Self, Inc.

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

01/07/2008

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Michigan

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Lifestyle Lift, Inc. owns the trademark "Lifestyle Lift" for use in connection with cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. The company licenses this trademark to cosmetic and plastic surgery centers across the country, and doctors perform facelift procedures marketed to the public under... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Real Self, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Michigan

Location of Party: 

  • Washington

Legal Counsel: 

J. Michael Huget; Deborah J. Swedlow; Timothy J. Lowe
Description

Lifestyle Lift, Inc. owns the trademark "Lifestyle Lift" for use in connection with cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. The company licenses this trademark to cosmetic and plastic surgery centers across the country, and doctors perform facelift procedures marketed to the public under the name "the Lifestyle Lift." In January 2008, Lifestyle Lift sued Real Self, Inc., the operator of RealSelf.com, an interactive website with forums that let consumers discuss their experiences with cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures and vote on whether a procedure was "worth it" or "not worth it." A number of RealSelf users have written negative reviews of the Lifestyle Lift procedure, with 55% of users currently saying that the procedure was "not worth it."

The complaint alleges federal trademark infringement, unfair competition under federal and state law, and a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. It claims that RealSelf.com passed itself off as affiliated with Lifestyle Lift by using its trademark in metadata and publishing a page that incorrectly listed contact information for doctors performing its procedure in Michigan. It is not altogether clear the extent to which Lifestyle Lift is alleging that RealSelf user reviews incorporating its mark violated its trademark rights. (Notably, one of the exhibits to the complaint consists almost entirely of user reviews about Lifestyle Lift.)

On March 3, 2008, Real Self filed an answer alleging that its use of the mark is a fair and nominative use (the latter defense refers to situations where you need to use someone's trademark in order to discuss or comment on a product or service). The company also filed counterclaims, alleging that Lifestyle Lift violated its terms of service (and unfair competition laws) by planting shill reviews in the Lifestyle Lift discussion threads.

Update:

5/12/08 - The parties settled. The terms of the settlement are not public. 

7/15/2009 - According to the New York Times, Lifestyle Lift agreed to pay $300,000 in penalties and costs to New York State to settle an action brought be the New York Attorney General over Lifestyle Lift's practice of posting fake reviews on consumer review websites posing as satisfied clients.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Subject Area: 

  • Trademark
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Michigan

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • Michigan

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

2:08-cv-10089

Relevant Documents: