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Mutual of Omaha Wants Oprah to Back Off

OMAHA (CN) - Mutual of Omaha Insurance says Oprah Winfrey has "cast a cloud" over its national ad campaign by staking a vague and unreasonable trademark claim to the phrase, "The Aha Moment." The insurer seeks declaratory judgment in Federal Court.

The insurer says that before it launched its ad campaign in July 2008, "due diligence confirmed the good faith belief and understanding of Mutual that the formative 'aha' was commonly used and understood by the public as an exclamation of triumph or surprise and that the formative 'aha moment' commonly was used and understood to describe a particular life experience."

It applied for a trademark in August 2008, to use the term to sell insurance. The insurer says an attorney for defendant Harpo Productions sent it a cease and desist letter on April 21, which "accused Mutual of 'diluting' Defendants' alleged trademark rights in the formative 'Aha Moment'."

Mutual of Omaha is represented by John Passarelli.

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