GO SMiLE Sues Former Founder—Celebrity Dentist, Dr. Jonathan Levine—for Trademark Infringement to Prevent Consumer Confusion

Dec 23, 2010, 09:00 ET from GO SMiLE

NEW YORK, Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Last month, GO SMiLE filed a federal lawsuit against its former founder, Dr. Jonathan B. Levine and his dental practice.  Levine is a dentist who counts numerous A-List celebrities among his clients, and has appeared on the Dr. Oz show.  Levine co-founded GO SMiLE in 2002 with his wife, Stacey Levine, but sold his interest in the company in 2008.  As part of the sale, Levine voluntarily gave up any right to use GO SMiLE's trademarks and signed an agreement not to compete with GO SMiLE for a period of time.

Over the past 8 years GO SMiLE has grown to revolutionize the concept of at-home and on-the-go teeth whitening, beginning with their patented SMILE WHITENING AMPOULE – a single dose, brush-on application of whitener.  Now, the GO SMiLE product line includes whitening maintenance products, toothpastes, lip balm, and a variety of at-home whitening systems featuring breakthrough technologies to reduce both whitening time and sensitivity.

In August 2010, GO SMiLE successfully launched its at-home teeth whitening light device, using its trademarked slogan GO SMiLE SMILE WHITENING LIGHT.  GO SMiLE's light device debuted on QVC, one of the largest cable networks for televised home shopping, and is now also sold on www.gosmile.com.  GO SMiLE plans to expand its distribution to a variety of prestige retailers.

In the lawsuit, GO SMiLE seeks to protect consumers from confusion by preventing Levine's use of trademarks that are confusingly similar to GO SMiLE's family of GO-based trademarks.  GO SMiLE alleges that Levine's use of GLO SMILE WHITENING SYSTEM and other GLO-based trademarks is confusingly similar to GO SMiLE's trademarked slogan GO SMILE WHITENING SYSTEM and other GO-based trademarks.  GO SMiLE believes Levine's use of GLO is likely to mislead consumers into believing Levine's products are GO SMiLE products, especially since Levine was the public face of GO SMiLE for many years.

GO SMiLE alleges that Levine approached GO SMiLE's current distributors, including QVC, to discuss an exclusive launch of his tooth whitening light device under the GLO trademarks as early as January 2011.  In court filings, GO SMiLE alleges that Levine has been marketing the competing light device to retailers such as HSN, QVC and Sephora, and describes confusion already happening in the marketplace, by those who mistakenly believe that Levine's light device is a GO SMiLE product.  GO SMiLE claims that Levine intentionally chose confusingly similar trademarks to capitalize on GO SMiLE's excellent reputation for quality teeth-whitening products under its strong trademarks, which have been featured in The New York Times Magazine, InStyle magazine, US Weekly, USA Today, and on CNN, The View, and Good Morning America.  GO SMiLE actively protects its trademarks, a requirement under trademark law.  It has successfully prevented others from using GLO-based trademarks for teeth whitening products and services.