In September 2011, the Competition Bureau reached a settlement
agreement with Beiersdorf Canada Inc., Nivea's Canadian
distributor, concerning claims made in connection with its MY
SILHOUETTE product. The claims were made on packaging as well as on
Nivea's website. The company claimed that regular use of its
product could lead to a "reduction of up to 3 centimetres on
targeted body parts, such as thighs, hips, waist and stomach";
contains a "highly effective natural Bio-Slim Complex for a
slimer looking and more defined silhouette", and has the dual
effect of "slimming and reshaping" the body. The
Competition Bureau found the claims to be misleading as they did
not have "adequate and proper" testing to substantiate
Under the settlement agreement, which is registered with the
Competition Tribunal, Beiersdorf must (a) remove the products from
Canadian shelves; (b) pay an administrative monetary penalty of
$300,000; (c) pay the Competition Bureau $80,000 for its costs and
disbursements incurred during the investigation; (d) refund
Canadian purchasers the purchase price and any shipping and
handling costs; and (e) publish a corrective notice on its website
and in major Canadian newspapers.
The Canadian agreement followed on the heels of a similar
agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Under the terms
of that Order, the company agreed to pay $900,000 and it is
prohibited from claiming that any product applied to the skin
causes substantial weight or fat loss or a
substantial reduction in body size; and that any drug,
dietary supplement, or cosmetic causes weight or fat loss or a
reduction in body size, unless the claim is backed by two
randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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