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Oprah in Legal War Over 'Aha! Moment'

4/24/2009 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

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

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.

Oprah Launch PhotosBut 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.

Your move, O.



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161 COMMENTS

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1.

Adrian Palmer    

First of all, Oprah and her lawyers need to check with the US Patent and Trademark office...if you didn't file and pay for and receive the official trademark, IT ISN"T TRADEMARKED! Secondly, the terms Aha Moment have been used by many people for many years and are 'commonly used' and it is a 'commonly used expression', i.e. often noted commonly as a definition of' the term 'Eureka'. The US Patent and Trademarkk Office has specific regulations about trademarks and proof of continuous use after a trademark has been officially granted; you also have to pay the US Patent and Trademark Office a filing fee, as well as ongoing renewal fees with their attendant filing fees. So, Oprah, unless you have an official trademark and the paperwork to back it up, you cannot claim the rights to a common phrase as your own personal trademark.

1954 days ago
2.

Pastor Sandie    

I guess Oprah Winfrey owes me a lot of money if she thinks she came up with the phrase 'Aha! Moment', I have been using that phrase since I was in my teens and I am 52 now. So Oprah, get in touch with as to how you intend to reimburse me for using my words on your television show and outside of it. You are Ludicrous and ridiculous, If the insurance company has to pay you one thin dime, you will owe me half of what ever you get because you stole my saying! Sandie PS you can Email me to get my mailing information so that you can send me a check ASAP.

1954 days ago
3.

Oregon Girl    

this is about the Opra wanting to file a case against the Insurance company: i think its rather PATHETIC that she thinks she has rights to or should have the rights to " the aha moment" she already has more money that she can handle/knows what to do with, like she really needs to sue. my god, this is obviously another publicity stunt and a rather rediculous one to boot! I guess thats how rich ignorant people with nothing better to do funcion

1954 days ago
4.

Laura    

Holy crap, don't you think you have enough money already?Just like airhead Paris Hilton, trying to copyright "That's Hot".
Seems to me, "words is words" and nobody owns how they are put together. Get a grip!

1954 days ago
5.

KGBESQ    

Filing with USTM Office not mandatory -- use is enough. We are a common-law use country so Oprah can establish rights merely by her use. Also, constructive abandonment of the mark is 3 years. Mutual of Omaha's best position against Oprah is lack of policing.

1954 days ago
6.

JerseyJarhead    

The greed of this talentless cow knows no bounds. Normally I would side with anyone against an insurance compny but in this case, let's home common sense prevails. Oprah - what a pig!

1954 days ago
7.

DonnaT    

FIRST OF ALL TWITS - do you really think Oprah - with all of her lawyers and accountants - needs the likes of you all to tell her about Trademarks and Copyrights. LOL!

I'm almost positive if she trademarked the phrase, SHE DID. Her challenge, if it's true what they are saying, is to explain why she didn't PROTECT the trademark by suing others for using it.

1954 days ago
8.

owl    

Oprah should lighten up, anyone use her phrase positive things, including corporation for profit purpose, only benefit her in a long run. Listen to greedy lawyer file lawsuit only generate bad publicity and irritate people of her true nasty nature revelation that always hidden under the mask. .

1954 days ago
9.

jim    

Dear Oprah... you're a sexist idiot. Please get the mental help you're crying out for.

Man, is America a mess or what? ... look at who women turn to for relationship advice...
Oprah, a sexist, naver married woman ...
and Dr. Phil , a once divorced, fat bald man who drives a sports car. A self hating man if I ever saw one
BOTH have said on their show that women cheat it's because they're lonely, but when men cheat it's because we're pigs...
I guess they think a man could never feel lonely... how ignorant and sexist.

They both like to defend female murderers and pedophiles too

And women wonder why they keep the man they want? Look at the stupid crap their brainwashed with!

1954 days ago
10.

DonnaT    

KGBESQ - Thanks for the education. You are absolutely right.

1954 days ago
11.

Really tired of it    

"O" What has happened to you. It seems the more fame you get , the further you get from your roots. You use to spend your time and money helping people! Now all you do is "BITCH" Take a good long look in the mirror and fix it.

1954 days ago
12.

rosie g    

oprah get over ur rich self.courts have better things to do with there time.dont forget we the people made u rich.

1954 days ago
13.

DonnaT    

JAYMEN: I think you're the one that needs mental help. Seems to me you have a problem with powerful women.

1954 days ago
14.

The Poolbabe    

Oprah -

Grow up and Get the F*** over yourself. My God, how big can your ego get? How much control of others can you garner for yourself? You've already acknowledged that you have control issues. You definitely need to get some psychological help for them if this is what they have driven you to do. You do not own, nor have any control over, a phrase that you THINK you came up with. You can't trademark verbalizations. People have been saying this phrase and many others LONG BEFORE YOU! If a person can sue over a verbalized phrase that they Think they are the only ones in the entire world to have used first, then I should sue Dr. Phil for using a catch phrase of mine on air, that I used in a letter to him. His use of that phrase, one that he NEVER, EVER used before, confirmed to me that he had indeed read my letter. Prepare to be served Dr. Phil.

1954 days ago
15.

vampire666curse    

how pathetic has this country become, way too much bitching and crying over every little thing that happens , the good ole days are gone and as bad as things are getting i look forward to when this world ends

1954 days ago
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