Degussa, Muscle Marketing in Litigation Over Creatine Claims
LOS ANGELES--Litigation is pending in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California between Degussa BioActives (filed as Traco Labs Inc.) and Muscle Marketing USA Inc. (MMUSA). The companies are currently in discovery, which is scheduled to conclude by the end of November.
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 suit Feb. 15, alleging MMUSA is making false claims about powdered creatine. The suit details several alleged legal infractions, including production of 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 are that creatine serum is safer and more effective than creatine powder; Degussa's suit claims creatine serum is ineffective and "lacks any significant amount of creatine."
Degussa is requesting MMUSA be permanently enjoined from making such claims and pay Degussa's legal fees and damages, including punitive damages. It also asked the court to require MMUSA to publish advertisements correcting the statements about creatine powder and serum that are believed to be materially false and misleading.
MMUSA responded to the suit May 16, denying all allegations. Among its defenses are that the statements were true when made, were made with an absence of malicious intent to injure Degussa and are protected by the First Amendment. In a public statement, MMUSA noted the structure of its creatine serum molecule is a trade secret, and that only specialized testing methodology can analyze the product properly.