Ai ya ya. A Canadian firm has now filed a lawsuit against several Real Housewives of New Jersey cast members, accusing them of stealing the concept used for their bottled-water product, BLACKWATER, in addition to misappropriation of the trademark and breach of contract.
The lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, names BLK Brands LLC. (“BLK”) and it owners — Albie Manzo, Chris Manzo, and Chris Laurita as well as Jacqueline Lauria and Louise Wilkie, as defendants.
The suit, filed by Canadian design and marketing company Creative Thinkers, Inc, alleges the Wilkies entered into an agreement with Creative Thinkers to bottle BLACKWATER(TM), a specialty health water infused with a proprietary blend of fulvic and humic acid. However, instead of working with Ivan Solomon (the owner of Creative Thinkers), his partner Gordon Jung, and their corporation, Blackwater Innovations Corp., the Wilkies allegedly stole the idea and trademark and marketed the product with the Manzo-Laurita family.
“One of the core premises of trademark law is the right and ability to protect one’s name against imitations and customer confusion,” said Bobby A. Ghajar, one of the attorneys representing Creative Thinkers. “This case goes to the heart of trademark law.”
In July 2011, Blackwater Innovations Corp. sent a cease and desist letter to BLK after the Wilkies claimed they developed the idea for the product after they witnessed the water heal their sick mother. However, the suit alleges the defendants received confidential information about the Blackwater specialty product in a November 2009 agreement, and agreed to keep information about the health water confidential.
The court documents allege the Manzo-Laurita family inappropriately used their reality TV fame to sell a false story about how the idea for the blackwater drink originated. Creative Thinkers insists that the family stole the idea after attending a food industry trade show. At the trade show, the Manzo-Laurita family allegedly saw the BLACKWATER(TM) product and conspired with the Wilkies to steal the product, marketing and distribution plan.
“We are confident that the evidence will prove that the Manzo-Laurita family and the Wilkies stole the BLACKWATER(TM) specialty concept,” said Mark D. Litvack, one of the attorneys on the case. “The Manzo-Laurita family has wrongfully used its fame to steal another’s idea, and this suit seeks to restore ownership of BLACKWATER(TM) to its true originator.”
Creative Thinkers, Inc. is now seeking to “have its stolen property returned, to recover the monies and good will wrongfully taken from it, and to prevent the defendants from wrongfully profiting from their theft, deception and infringement.”
Blackwater Innovations Corp., Solomon, and Jung have also filed a countersuit responding to claims by BLK that they had infringed the company’s trademark rights. BLK had originally filed their lawsuit as a response to the July 2011 cease and desist letter they received.
[Photo Credit: Bergen.com]
TELL US – THOUGHTS? DO YOU BELIEVE THE LAWSUIT?