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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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12/30/2012 7:49:00 AM
Hi Health seeks legal injunction against online vitamin retailer

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

A 40-year-old Arizona retailer of health supplements and vitamins is accusing another firm of infringing on its name and goodwill.

Marvin Glazer, an attorney for Hi-Health Supermart Corp., wants U.S. District Court Judge Bridget Bade to order i-Health to stop selling similar items on the World Wide Web. He also wants the company, based in Connecticut, to stop using its "' web site or anything they contend would be confusing with Hi-Health's own Internet site.

And Glazer is asking Wade to require i-Health to account for the profits it has made and turn them over to the Arizona firm.

Hugh Welsh, a spokesman for Royal DSM, the Netherlands-based parent company of i-Health, said the firm has not yet been served with a copy of the complaint. In any case, he said, the company "does not comment on matters in litigation.'

In his federal court lawsuit, Glazer said Hi-Health opened its first retail store in 1972 in Sun City. He said the company now operates 46 retail health food stores in Arizona which sell various health related goods under the corporate name.

It registered a trademark in 1982.

He also said Hi-Health operates a web site at "' which markets products throughout the country. Glazer said the firm had done retail phone- and mail-order since at least 1987 and set up the web site in 1996.

Hi-Health sells some of the products that Royal DSM manufactures for various retailers.

For example, one of them is called Culturelle. It contains Lactobacillus GG, touted by its manufacturer as "one of the world's most studied good bacteria.'

But it was not until last year, Glazer said, that i-Health began putting that specific designation onto its nutritional and dietary supplements. He said that is "confusingly similar in sound and appearance' to Hi-Health's own trademark and that the use of "i-health on the web site and products "is likely to cause confusion to the public.'

All of that, said Glazer, lets the defendant "unfairly benefit' from the goodwill that is associated with Hi-Health.

Aside from seeking a halt to use of the i-health name and web site, Glazer wants the judge to order the company to give the domain of "' over to his client.

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