Court Date Set in Degussa, Muscle Marketing Case
LOS ANGELESThe U.S. District Court for the Central District of California set Dec. 9 as a trial start date in a case between Degussa BioActives and Muscle Marketing USA Inc. (MMUSA). The companies are at odds over their different creatine products. Champaign, Ill.-based Degussa (www.degussa-bioactives.com) supplies Creapure powdered creatine as a raw material. Valencia, Calif.-based MMUSA (www.creatine.com) makes Creatine Serum, available as a finished product.
Degussa filed the original suit in February 2002, alleging MMUSA is making false claims about powdered creatine. The suit details several alleged legal infractions, including deceptive advertising and online marketing materials, trade libel and deceptive trade practices in violation of the Lanham Act (the federal statutes on trademark law). Among the alleged false claims is that creatine serum is safer and more effective than creatine powder; Degussas suit claims creatine serum is ineffective and lacks any significant amount of creatine.
In the most recent action, MMUSA filed a counterclaim June 10, 2003, for false advertising, unfair business practices and unfair competition. The suit alleges Degussas lawsuit was filed to conceal its own illegal activities and accuses Degussa and its employee, Ralf Jaeger, of attempts to obtain the creatine serum formula through subterfuge. Finally, MMUSA points to Degussas press release about a study comparing the creatine products, which was presented at the Experimental Biology 2003 conference, as misleading and intended to injure MMUSAs reputation.
Degussa responded to the countersuit July 10, noting it has moved for the court to strike MMUSAs counterclaim as belated. In addition, this claim has no factual foundation whatsoever, the company stated. Degussa BioActives is seeking a prompt trial in federal court so that MMUSAs claims can be fully exposed as being frivolous and constituting an unfounded attack on the scientific community.