Yet Another Lawsuit Over Whether A Company Can Ban The Sale Of Its Products Online

from the first-sale dept

Just last week we were talking about baby stroller companies in the UK trying to prevent retailers from selling their goods on eBay, and now Eric Goldman points us to news of a case in the US on this very issue. Here we have a "dietary supplement" seller, Standard Process, who sued an online e-commerce site, Total Health, for selling its supplements despite not being an "authorized reseller." Basically, Total Health would buy products from Standard Process through other means and then resell them online -- which seems like it should be perfectly legal.

Not so far, claims the judge. The court refused to grant a summary judgment, claiming that, even though Total Health makes it abundantly clear that it is not an authorized reseller, because Total Health uses the pronouns "we" and "our" in describing Standard Process' products that it somehow (how? who knows?) implies evidence of an affiliation. That seems like quite a stretch. The judge also notes that since Total Health shows up as the top ad result in a search for Standard Process, there's an implied association (why? again... that's not explained at all). There are a few other questionable bits of reasoning by the judge, highlighted at the link above. The judge did rule in Total Health's favor on the question of whether or not it interfered with the "contract" between Standard Process and its authorized resellers, by noting that there's no actual contract if Standard Process just tells the resellers the terms without any actual agreement or exchange taking place. It has the right to stop selling to those resellers, but not to claim that they broke an existing contract.

Still the first part of this ruling does seem quite questionable. It seems like a stretch to think that any moron in a hurry would be confused by Total Health's marketing claims -- when it quite clearly states that it's not an official reseller of Standard Process' goods. It seems like the court twisted itself over backwards to try to come up with any loose link to try to make that connection.

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  1. identicon
    MARCUS, 18 Nov 2009 @ 1:11pm

    STANDARD PROCESS INC LAWSUIT

    I THINK THEY SHOULD FILE LAWSUITS AGAINST THESE COMPANIES. I USE A NUTRITIONIST TO KEEP A CHECK ON MY HEALTH AND OTHER CHALLENGES I HAVE. MY NUTRITIONIST TAKES A HAIR SAMPLE SENDS IT TO A LAB TO FIND OUT WHERE MY MINERALS ARE IN MY BODY WHAT IS BALANCES OR NOT BALANCED BASED ON THESE LAB TEST THEN THE STANDARD PROCESS INC ALL NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS ARE GIVEN BASED ON MY BODY ALONE TO KEEP MY MINERALS BALANCED ALLOWING MY BODY TO FIGHT OFF OTHER CHALLENGES I AM DEALING WITH. AND COLDS FLU AND ALLERGIES. WHEN MY NUTRITIONIST WAS OUT ON VACATION I NEEDED TO GET SOME MORE SUPPLEMENTS. SO I USED A COMPANY THAT CLAIMS TO USE STANDARD PROCESS INC. AND THEY DO BECAUSE THEY HAVE A PHYSICIAN ON STAFF PER SAY YOU CAN NEVER TALK WITH THEM .THIS COMPANY STATES YOU WILL HAVE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS IN 7 TO 10 BUSINESS DAYS BUT THEY DONT TELL YOU IF THEY DONT HAVE ONE OF THE SUPPLEMENTS YOU NEED IF THEY CANT GET THEM FROM STANDARD PROCESSING. SO THEN YOU GET THE PRODUCTS WHICH YOU NOT CANT TAKE DUE TO YOU ARE TO TAKE ALL THE SUPPLEMENTS AT SAME TIME SO THE WORK TOGETHER TO KEEP YOU HEALTHY. THESE COMPANIES DONT CARE THAT YOU WONT BE ABLE TO TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS UNTIL YOU GET THE OTHER SUPPLEMENT THEY COULD NOT GET FOR YOU. NOR DO THEY CARE THAT IT IS PUTTING YOUR HEALTH AT RISK. THEY CARE ABOUT THE MONEY BOTTOM DOLLAR THATS ALL. STANDARD PROCESSING WORKS DIRECTLY WITH PHYSICIANS AND NUTRITIONIST THAT WORK DIRECTLY WITH THEIR PATIENTS. NOT CUSTOMERS THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.

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