Netflix, Efron hit with trademark suit over "Down to Earth"

The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles
The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
  • Wellness company said Netflix show spread inaccurate health claims
  • Efron promoted show in deal with Nature Valley, lawsuit says

(Reuters) - Netflix and actor Zac Efron were hit on Friday with a trademark infringement suit by a wellness company claiming they misled consumers with the lifestyle show “Down to Earth."

Down to Earth Organics LLC said in the complaint in Manhattan federal court that Netflix gave viewers the false impression that the company was involved in producing the show.

The show premiered on Netflix in July 2020. It follows Efron and self-proclaimed wellness expert Darin Olien as they travel the world exploring healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Down to Earth claims the show tarnished its brand with inaccurate and "potentially fraudulent" health claims. The complaint does not elaborate on the allegedly false claims but cites a July 2020 article by Jonathan Jarry of McGill University's Office for Science and Society, who described Efron’s show as “insidious nonsense.”

Representatives for Netflix, Efron and Olien did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

Down to Earth’s products range from fruit and herb-infused drinks to snack bars and t-shirts. The company has also produced 65 podcast episodes on health, wellness and related topics since April 2020, according to the complaint.

Joel Dichter, an attorney for Down to Earth, said the show tarnished the company's brand by spreading misinformation about wellness.

"My client could not just sit back and let Zac Efron, Darin Olien and Netflix go on to a new season without accountability for their actions," Dichter said.

The suit also says that Efron cross-promoted Nature Valley snack bars on his personal Instagram page under the show’s name, “creating additional confusion” and further tarnishing the company’s trademarks.

The company applied for a trademark for clothing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in August 2017 and for snack bars in April 2018, according to the complaint. It filed for trademark registration for podcasts in April 2020, several months before Netflix’s show premiered, the complaint says.

Netflix has faced several major trademark suits in recent years. The streaming giant beat a suit over its hit show “Tiger King” in December 2020, a month after it settled on undisclosed terms with a children’s book publisher that claimed “Black Mirror” cribbed a phrase from one of its titles, court documents show.

The case is Down to Earth Organics v. Olien et al., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 7:22-cv-06218.

For Down to Earth: Joel R. Dichter of Dichter Law and Peter J. Glantz of the Law Offices of Peter J. Glantz

For Netflix and Efron: Not immediately available

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