June 23, 2011 9:40am PT by Eriq Gardner
'Biggest Loser' Contestant Wins Battle With Weight Loss Companies
Jennifer Eisenbarth, a contestant on the third season of NBC's Biggest Loser has successfully stood up to about a dozen online marketers who used her success in losing more than 100 pounds to push weight loss products. The companies never got Eisenbarth's permission to user her name in promoting such products as acai berry supplements and colon cleansers, and on Wednesday, these companies agreed to a permanent injunction from infringing Eisenbarth's likeness.
It's no secret that reality television stars agree to give up many rights on how their names and images are used when signing contracts to appear on screen. And if there's ever a danger for a reality star to be overexploited, it might be on Biggest Loser, a cash cow for producers, earning an estimated $25 million per year in merchandising revenue and online enterprises. Plus, the weight loss miracle cures has always thrived as an industry.
But in 2009, Eisenbarth called a foul.
She was booted off quickly during the third season of the show, but managed to work hard regardless and lose more than 100 pounds. As a result, she became a popular example of how real folks can have success taking off weight, even without the help of personal trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels.
Eisenbarth filed a lawsuit against nearly a dozen weight loss vendors including FWM Laboratories, Bromacleanse, Coast Nutraceuticals, and Herbalife International as well as advertisers, including Congoo and HD Vest Advanced Systems. She alleged that the defendants defamed her, violated her privacy, implied a false endorsement, and abridged her publicity rights by misappropriating her image and fabricating quotes that attributed her weight loss success to their products.
After a couple years of legal wrangling, the case has finally been settled.
According to a joint stipulation filed in Minnesota federal court, the companies have agreed to a permanent injunction. Further, the companies have consented to having a person search the Internet three times a week to police for any unauthorized uses of Eisenbarth's name. If the companies slip up, and Eisenbarth's name again becomes associated with diet care products without authorization, they will be on the hook for $25,000 in liquidated damages per material breach.