A true detective

d1dbad52f3808bc08d3e5a648326e1c2The famous star Gwyneth Paltrow owns her own lifestyle website Goop. This website has recently posted an article about diets titled “Diet Detective / Nutritionist Kelly Dorfman takes the mystery out of what might be plaguing our systems – and presents a program for picky eaters.” In short, an article about diets.

Sufficient reason for Charles Platkin, owner of the mark The Diet Detective, to file a lawsuit on the basis of violation of his trademark The Diet Detective (and not copyright as listed on several websites), despite the fact that Goop has removed the article. Charles Platkin operates under the name of The Diet Detective, and has written several books about diets.

An interesting case. First of all, did Goop use the name The Diet Detective as a trademark? Given the context and the title it seems more like a description and introduction of Kelly Dorfman. On the other hand, Detective with the capitalized D implies that the name is a trademark. Can the public think that Kelly Dorfman is affiliated with The Diet Detective? Could be, the court will have to find out whether this risk is present.

On the other hand, if the court considers that the use of The Diet Detective is merely descriptive, it is in Platkin’s interest to act against the use of his name as a generic name.

As the alleged infringement has been ceased immediately, the damage seems limited. But this fact seems not always decisive in America.

Arnaud Bos

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