Them’s fightin’ words: P90X and Icon doing battle over declaratives - SNEWS

Them’s fightin’ words: P90X and Icon doing battle over declaratives

A growing fitness trend means there is money to be had, and if there is money to be had, there are lawsuits to be fought. This latest case has the company behind P90X and Icon Health & Fitness bickering over alleged false advertising. Details here.
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Two fitness companies are in legal battle over the marketing campaign of a new suspension/bodyweight training product and regimen.

The bickering between Beachbody LLC’s established P90X fitness system, made popular on infomercials, and Icon Health & Fitness' new Rip:60 product began in early February, with the latest legal action filed March 8.

In that most recent filing with the U.S. District Court, Central California, Beachbody (www.beachbody.com) accuses Icon of unfair competition and false advertising. The complaint alleges that Icon, through its website and infomercials, made false claims that its new Rip:60 home fitness program bests Beachbody’s P90X and Insanity programs in “every category” proven by “clinical studies.” As of March 14, the campaign can be viewed on Icon’s Rip:60 website (www.rip60.com) (see below) with the prominent headline claim that the product is “Better than P90X Period.”

“On information and belief, these claims are literally false and misleading,” Beachbody’s legal complaint alleges. “Icon cannot adequately substantiate them nor can it establish that it has conducted scientifically valid clinical studies on these products, as it claims.”

It all started Feb. 1 when Santa Monica, Calif.-based Beachbody sent a letter to Icon in Logan, Utah issuing similar complaints and demanding evidence of Icon’s clinical superiority claims or the termination of the marketing campaign.

That led Icon three days later to file a pre-emptive legal complaint with the U.S. District Court, District of Utah, seeking a court declaration that its actions “do not give rise to liability under applicable federal and common laws.”

Icon has declined to comment about the legal action. The company is slated to showcase the Rip:60 at the IHRSA convention and trade show in San Francisco, from March 16-19 – allegedly the debut of the program, per PR in late February.

Icon and Beachbody have yet to reply to each other’s initial legal filings in Utah and California.

"Beachbody is committed to truthful and honest competition,” company officials said in a statement emailed to SNEWS March 11. “Icon's ad campaign, unfortunately, is misleading consumers by falsely advertising that its product is superior to P90X and Insanity. Beachbody will vigorously pursue this lawsuit to ensure that these claims are removed from the marketplace."

The suspension training trend has heated up, in part due to a mass marketing push by Fitness Anywhere for its TRX suspension system and its club training programs, as well as P90X’s trendy commercials featuring buff models. Click here to see a March 9, 2011, SNEWS story on the trend, its history and products.

With money to be had, this isn’t the first and likely won’t be the last lawsuit filed in the growing bodyweight/suspension training market. In 2009, Fitness Anywhere sued manufacturer GoFit for its wording describing the latter’s new Gravitybar suspended bodyweight product.

In that case, Fitness Anywhere claimed GoFit used the terms “suspension training” and “make your body your machine”– phrases Fitness Anywhere had trademarked for fitness equipment and educational services. GoFit changed its wording and the case ended up being settled out of court and dismissed in 2010.

In this latest case, Icon also mentions Fitness Anywhere’s TRX product in its marketing campaign -- “Better than TRX and P90X” (see photo, above, upper left browser tab). It begs the question whether TRX will join the legal fray. Fitness Anywhere officials could not be reached for comment as of March 14.

--David Clucas with Therese Iknoian

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