LOS ANGELES (CN) — KinderFarms, a maker of "clean" over-the-counter drugs for children co-founded by actress Jessica Biel, lies about its artificial ingredients-free medicines being the first of their kind and copies the products of its rival, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.
Genexa Inc. said that since 2020 it has been selling over-the-counter pain and cold medication that have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs but without artificial inactive ingredients. The company claims the line of clean kids' drugs KinderFarms launched in November is a ripoff of Genexa's products.
"KinderFarms uses a 'dirty' competitive strategy that includes copying, in many or all material respects, the names of Genexa’s products, the ingredients of Genexa’s products, the packaging of Genexa’s products and many of the marketing techniques used by Genexa," according to the complaint.
Moreover, according to Genexa, KinderFarms tried to compensate for its products’ lack of originality by inducing Biel to serve as a so-called founder of the company and to use her celebrity status to promote the launch of KinderMed products, including by suggesting that these products were unique and that there was nothing with clean and effective ingredients in the pharmacy aisle.
The Atlanta, Georgia-based company also claims the private-equity investor behind KinderFarms previously explored investing in Genexa and had access to its confidential business plans. The investor provided that information to KinderFarms, which then entered the market for clean OTC drugs with "nearly the exact same products, similar packaging and marketing, selling to the same customers and using a manufacturer Genexa had disclosed" to the investor, Genexa says in its complaint.
Representatives of KinderFarms didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
On its website, KinderFarms describes itself as the kinder “farmaceutical” company, founded by parents Jessica Biel and Jeremy Adams "when they couldn’t find health products that were both effective and fit with their values."
Genexa accuses Kinderfarms of false advertising and unfair competition as well as intentional interference with contractual relations. The company seeks unspecified damages and a court order to stop the alleged misleading and false advertising.
Genexa is represented by Steven Marenberg, James Pearl, and Jennica Wragg of Paul Hastings in Los Angeles.
Biel shares two children with her husband, pop star Justin Timberlake. In June 2019, she lobbied alongside ardent antivaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. against a California bill to limit medical exemptions from vaccination requirements without approval from a state public health officer.Follow @edpettersson
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