Jun 25, 2003
Pfizer, Tea Company Fight Over 'Joyagra'
MINNEAPOLIS[AP} - Joytime Herbs uses whimsical names such as Joyslim, Joyawake and Joysleep, meant to mirror the effects of its teas.
But Pfizer isn't a bit happy with the Minneapolis company and its owner, Philip Jegede, for the name of a tea he introduced five months ago.
The pharmaceutical company filed a lawsuit June 18 in federal court in Minneapolis claiming Joyagra tea — which Jegede says "helps with sexual energy for men and women" — infringes and dilutes its trademark on Viagra, the popular anti-impotency drug.
"There is a possibility of causing confusion in the minds of men who use Viagra because the Joyagra tea bags are being marketed and sold as the No. 1 performance enhancement tea," said Pfizer spokesman Daniel Watts.
Pfizer is asking the court to prohibit Jegede from marketing the tea under the Joyagra name and is seeking damages.
Joyagra tea, already one of the company's best sellers, is sold for $11.99 for 25 bags and marketed to individuals and health food stores across the country, Jegede said. Joytime has a Web site called Joyagra.com that promotes and sells the tea, and contains testimonials.
Unlike Viagra, the tea isn't a drug. Jegede said the herbal tea is made from only natural ingredients.
Jegede said he will not stop selling Joyagra, and said Pfizer is a bully trying to put a small operator — his work force has ranged from two to seven workers — out of business.
He likened his situation to a trademark suit that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, Victoria's Secret sued a Kentucky sex toy shop called Victor's Little Secret. The high court ruled in March that the similar name wasn't sufficient to hurt the image of Victoria's Secret.