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Oprah: 'Aha!' I Got You!

4/24/2009 12:27 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Oprah Winfrey just had another Aha! Moment -- when she decided to wage a legal war against an insurance company using her signature catchphrase.

Oprah Winfrey

Just a few days ago, Oprah's lawyers fired off a cease and desist letter to Mutual of Omaha demanding they shut down their plans to run a gigantic advertising campaign with the slogan, "Official sponsor of the aha moment."

In the letter, sent April 21, Oprah's peeps claim they have the rights to the "Aha Moment" slogan and they threatened to sue because O doesn't want Mutual to mislead her fans into thinking she's associated with them.

But Mutual of Omaha is fighting back with a lawsuit, claiming that even if Oprah had trademark rights to the phrase, she "abandoned" those rights by failing to "police their alleged mark" when other businesses used it in the past.

In the suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Nebraska, Mutual asks the judge to rule that they have the right to use the phrase in their campaign.

A rep for O tells us, "Harpo has not filed a lawsuit or counterclaim against Mutual of Omaha. We hope to reach an amicable resolution on this issue."


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Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Morty Mort    

This isn't about who "owns" the phrase "aha moment." Indeed, "aha moment" has been part of the American lexicon since the 1930s (see Thiis is about Oprah's concern that Mutual of Omaha's sponsorship of the aha moment will imply she has a relationship with the insurance company. Even so, what does she have to lose if people think that? If you visit Mutual of Omaha's web site you'll see that they have the same values that Oprah says she represents. They sponsor young athletes, They have a charitable foundation. And, they ARE Wild Kingdom, for Pete's sake. What would it hurt if people saw Oprah in the same vein as Mutual of Omaha?

1971 days ago


Wish I had enough time on my hands to jam up the legal system over two words. Is Mutual's use of the words going to seriously affect her life and earnings in a negative way? I have two words for Oprah: Grow up.

1971 days ago

Daddy wants some of the pie too.    

The "Aha moment" has been around long before Oprah started using it and I crack up at her thinking its "her" saying in the first place. When an idea pops into your head its an "Aha moment" and has nothing to do with Oprah. She should be more concerend with those poor girls in her orphanage who appear to get molested a lot. If that were my orphanage I'd be behind bars the first time it happened for negligence but now, even thought its surfaced TWICE, nobody is doing anything about it. Why? I feel sorry for those girls--used by Oprah for her "Look at me--aren't I wonderful?" agenda.

1971 days ago

Gardner Fan    

Martin Gardner has been using the term "aha moment" in his books for almost 50 years. Googling "aha moment" and "Martin Gardner" turns up over 500 hits.

1970 days ago


I'm trying to be objective in understanding this issue. The facts look like Oprah has a well-established feature both in her magazine and TV show called the Aha! Moment. Mutual of Omaha has now trademarked the phrase 'official sponsor of the aha moment' which does seem to unfairly credit Mutual with sponsoring Oprah's own popular aha theme - which is untrue. At the very least, it's confusing so I think Oprah has a right to clarify, or else all businesses can start copycatting every other creative idea or application out there without first asking permission. For more honest thoughts, see this recent article. Now this is just my personal opinion, but Mutual of Omaha looks like the bully (or even a pirate) here.

1970 days ago

sassy stephanie    

All you haters need to get a real life. She has the right to sue anyone she wants. All of you are just jealous. I love you Oprah. Please excuse all these haters and ignorant people they don't know any better. So go get a life and stop being so negative. Oprah doesn't care about your comments anyway. by SSS

1884 days ago
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