Arego Life dist. banned from selling Adapt X.1 in Germany
The Hamburg Regional Court in Germany has banned promotion and distribution of Arego Life’s Adapt X.1 supplement.
The ban applies to a Arego Life distributor defendant, and came into effect following an injunction issued on January 21st.
The reported reason behind the Regional Court’s decision is misleading marketing claims.
Specifically, Adapt X.1 was being marketed across Germany through unverifiable medical claims, false active ingredient claims and citing studies and patents that have nothing to do with Adapt X.1.
I don’t speak German so I wasn’t able to track down any medical claim examples.
On their website, Arego Life claims:
Over 40 years ago researchers studied field mice (prairie voles) to determine why they only reproduced during a short period of time during the spring.
They discovered it was their diet; they were eating the early spring growth of grasses, called monocots.
Researchers were able to identify a specific group of polyphenols found exclusively in the young monocot plants.
These polyphenols are adaptogens that naturally allow your body to modulate all serotonin pathways.
This group of polyphenols is called ADAPTENOL, it is the base of all of our products.
In response to BehindMLM’s Arego Life review (published August 2019), President and co-founder of the company Jim Douville stated:
We (are) already are in the process of expanding and adding patents as new research continues to reveal more about what this family of adoptogenic polyphenols known as Adaptenols actually is and what they can do.
As part of the case against Arego Life, samples of Adapt X.1 were sent to a testing laboratory in Stuttgart.
The facility was unable to detect any measurable quantity of polyphenols.
It is possible that such are present, but below the chemical detection limit.
It is not clear how a product should work without the ingredient advertised as relevant.
Arego Life’s products were also being marketed in Germany on the back of a “double-blind study according to the Yale Standard”.
This study, it was claimed, proved Arego Life’s products effectiveness.
Investigation into the study revealed it didn’t pertain to Arego Life’s products. The products studied had different ingredients to that of Arego Life.
Furthermore the court found the study could not be classified “scientific” as it could “hardly be understood”.
The product tested there did not go beyond a placebo effect according to the results presented in the report for several of the criteria tested.
Arego Life’s marketing claims regarding patents were also called into question.
The District Court found
advertised US patents … were not related to the product being offered.
Contrary to the misleading claims of (Arego Life) providers, searchable patent applications in Europe were unsuccessful.
In our published review we noted
Arego Life needs to do more to tie Adapt X.1 with to the patents and studies it provides.
As of January 21st, the distributor defendant is unable to market or sell Adapt X.1 in Germany.
Considering the distributor marketed Adapt X.1 using Arego Life’s own marketing material, it follows that any distributors marketing Adapt X.1 are at risk.
On its website Arego Life lists Germany, along with the US and Japan, as an officially supported country.
Update 4th February 2020 – German media initially reported the District Court’s decision as a blanket ban. It has since emerged that the current injunction in place pertains only to one distributor.
Our was updated to reflect that post-publication.
Just want to give you some incite here.
Arego has not been banned nor has AdaptX.1. They have obtained an injunction against 1 distributor preventing that distributor specifically from marketing Adapt X.1, without a German label.
Since everything has been in German since late December even that distributor can market Adapt X.1. In fact, it is in native language in all active markets requiring something other than English.
Our products are legally notified and can be legally traded by our distributors.
Our distributors are under attack form the company Juchheim through their attorneys SBS Legal. They probably sound familiar to you as they were the legal firm which claimed OneCoin wasn’t a scam.
Distributors are being hit with cease and desist orders for making claims, their social media posts are being searched and any claim not recognized in Germany is being targeted.
We have been very aggressive in telling our distributors to avoid using any claims they find in the US sites, including testimonials. Further steps are being put in place to protect our distributors.
While it is true that Germany/EU do not recognize the US patents it does not in anyway way negate the benefits of Adapt X.1.
The study referenced in their injunction is found here; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4044475/ I guess courts can’t read scientific papers.
Arego was not contacted about this injunction being filed as it was not against us, it is a big PR ploy on their part. Obviously they have been effective as they got you to publish this. The context of this injunction has been used deceptively in the article being quoted.
Additionally, we have not been allowed to see the results of their “tests”, we use micronized ingredients and not all labs can detect or even try to test for them.
We have submitted for full testing through an accredited lab in Germany capable of detecting our ingredients.
That’s not what was reported by the independent press. I’d also be weary of circumventing court ordered injunctions by selling prohibited product with a different label.
I’m not a fan of SBS Legal but if there’s merit to the case, it doesn’t matter who filed it.
Good. Why isn’t Arego Life policing this?
As you’re no doubt aware, in the US “but our distributors did it, not us!” is not a defense against an FDA warning notice or further action.
Looks like the court made the correct decision then. I can’t see anything about Arego Life or Adapt X.1 in that study summary, can you?
If you want to make legitimate medical claims about Adapt X.1, you have to fund research into the product itself.
“Look, a study was done on ingredient X. Our product contains ingredient X. Therefore study applies to our product!” isn’t acceptable. You can get away with “may this and may that” generic claims (in the US anyway), but not specific medical claims (the definition of which might vary outside the US).
That’s a good start. Let us know the results.
Oh and for the record, nobody “got us” to publish anything. BehindMLM has been independently publishing MLM related news for over a decade now.
You’re thinking of BusinessForHome (cash for comment).
That is an outright lie. The court ruling (LG Hamburg Az. 327 O 21/20) had absolutely nothing to do with the labelling or its language. It was about your product and the claims you make for it.
There is nothing in there that doesn’t equally apply to your own marketing material in the original English. Take away those marketing claims, and you’ve got nothing to sell.
I presume you’re technically correct, in that if she sold it only as “water with some grain extract, without any health benefits”, it would probably be OK. It’s not as if there’s anything actually harmful in there.
But not only is this particular distributor banned from selling your product, the court has also announced that the same ban will be applied to anyone else selling it. Several such procedures against other distributors are already underway.
The only reason it applies only to an individual distributor is because Arego does not exist as a legal entity in Germany, so they cannot go after the company directly, they have to take it one distributor at a time.
BTW: trying to misrepresent bans in other countries as being merely something to do with the labelling not being in the local language (and hoping for the language barrier making it diffcult to check such a claim) is a hackneyed old ploy of US-based sellers of dodgy products. Sadly for you, some of us reading this know German.
What does “legally notified” mean?
Of course, your distributors can go on and sell the stuff as they’re doing now, if they enjoy the risk of being taken to court followed by a certain ban. I presume you do not pay for their lawyers and court costs?
The court didn’t say anything about the recognition of US patents in the EU (obviously, there is no mutual patent recognition). It merely established the fact that the US patents you use in your marketing material are unrelated to the product you’re selling.
Or to put it in less polite terms: you’re lying about them, whether in the US or in Europe.
It also established that the one supposed US study you keep referencing (which the court also established is wholly unscientific) isn’t about your product, making another lie.
Since you helpfully provide a link to it, anyone bothering to glance through the very short thing (I thought it was merely the abstract when I saw it, but no, that’s the entire article) can see for themselves that it nowhere mentions any product of yours. Or indeed any identifiable product at all, it just mentions “an extract of monocot grasses (corn grass, wheat grass, and bamboo)”, without providing any further details whatsoever.
You weren’t a party in the court case. When and from who did you request a copy of the report of the accredited laboratory, which found that the claimed active ingredient isn’t present in your product in detectable amounts? Did they give any reason for refusing to give you such a copy?
Nonsense. “Micronized” simply means “with a very small particle size”. It has got absolutely no bearing on the outcome of chemical tests, which test for the molecules making up those particles.
A substance does not become less detectable by grinding it into a finer powder (grinding being the oldest and still the most common method of micronizing). All blood tests detect substances with the smallest possible particle size of all: one molecule per particle.
But it does say something about the level of magical thinking you’re operating at, when you’re claiming that a substance whose presence cannot be detected except, allegedly, by a very few highly specialized chemical laboratories, at the same time is having huge, easily noticeable effects on human body chemistry.
I do, and none of the sites from distributors I looked at in German seemed to contain anything more than direct translations of the original Arigo material, with the exact same list of health claims.
IOW, fairly typical of the kind of unsubstantiated claims you can get away with in the US, but not in the EU. Smarter purveyors of such products know this, and change the claimed health benefits accordingly.
That last bit probably comes from an attempt to translate the hard to translate German verb “nachvollziehen”, which here means something like “reproduce someone else’s reasoning”.
The court isn’t saying that the so-called “study” is hard to understand, it is saying that one cannot see how Arigo went from what little is said in the short article, to the claims they make for their product.
As a sort of aside, it also remarks the study can be qualified as unscientific based on nothing more than its total lack of specifics.
I love that between us we’ve got pretty much every major language covered.
Well, a native German speaker has now weighed in. Over to you Jim.
They have already changed the title, hopefully you will follow their lead.
What have they changed? The title is:
Which means, translated as literally as possible: the Landgericht Hamburg [you can look up what level of court a Landgericht is] has issued an injunction banning a distributor from selling the product “Arego Life Adapt X.1”.
It’s the same title that’s in the URL in shortened form, which is given in the article, so that cannot have been changed.
The article also mentions that this was probably the result of direct sales companies (i.e., MLMs) fighting among themselves.
Trying to set the courts on the perceived competition is apparently a common tactic in your field. That would certainly explain the involvement of SBS Legal – somebody must be paying them.
It also warns that distributors for such companies must therefore be very careful, and seek legal advice about what they can and cannot claim in advertising, because they’re often the ones who end up with considerable costs when they get caught in the middle of such battles.
So perhaps you can find out which of your competitors is behind this, and find grounds for reporting them to the authorities.
If one Arego Life distributor has been banned from marketing Adapt X.1 in Germany, using Arego Life’s own marketing materials, that’s effectively a nationwide ban is it not?
These weren’t rogue distributors using their own marketing material, they were parroting Arego Life’s own claims.
The court has accepted evidence deeming those claims false. Unless the court reverses its decision, any distributor in Germany could find themselves in trouble for marketing Adapt X.1.
Here you go PassingBy:
yes a competing company who saw some of their distributors also join us, since it is illegal to do anything against them for being in multiple companies they take this route instead.
I’m more interested in the merit of the claims as opposed to their source.
A German court has ruled Arego Life’s marketing is full of unsubstantiated claims. And there’s a submitted test that shows less than traceable amounts of what is supposed to be a key ingredient in Adapt X.1.
Surely if anything submitted to the court is not above board, Arego Life has a case against the Plaintiff?
When you only hear one side in a debate, the arguments sound pretty compelling regardless of the facts.
Certainly not going to show our cards at this point.
All we ask is that you accurately represent the ruling and article. So yes, a (singular) Marketing Partner has been banned from marketing AdaptX.1 by a Hamburg District Court.
You are presuming that it is in fact a nation wide ban, the ruling does not say that. If they go through this process 10 more times we would be up to 11 banned partners, there is a difference here.
Not so much a debate as a court ruling decided on filed evidence.
And I didn’t presume anything, that’s what was reported. I’ll edit the article later today to reflect on distributor has been banned from promoting Adapt X.1.
That the ban is based on Arego Life’s own marketing material and alleged false claims stands.
The way I see it, until you “show your hands”, marketing of Adapt X.1 in Germany is effectively prohibited. Anyone who does promote it leaves themselves open to a lawsuit with precedence.
used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof.
For a court to issue an an injunction, presented allegations have to be taken as fact. Or at the very least the supporting evidence has to be compelling.
The court specifically referred to filed proof in support of the injunction, so I’m not sure why you’re claiming there is no proof.
Evidence of fraudulent marketing claims was submitted to the court, and that was enough to issue an injunction.
The onus is now on Arego Life to challenge that evidence, even as a non-party. Arego Life can do this by providing counter-evidence to support the German distributor in question.
Or you can let the injunction order stand, which is not a good look.
A court ruling, setting out why an injunction was issued, isn’t a debate.
A Landgericht is not the same thing as a US District Court. This ban applies to that saleswoman nationwide, the ruling does not need to spell that out.
Why it only applies to one salesperson, not to your company as a whole, has already been explained: you have no legal presence in Germany, therefore, you cannot be enjoined, they have to do it salesperson by salesperson.
Since the injunction is based on the fundamental content of your marketing material, and the (lack of) content of your product, any other salesperson who is brought to the court’s notice will get the same one.
The next 10 times, the process will be much simpler, since they only need to refer to the existing injunction, it’ll be a rubber stamp matter.
It’s also unlikely they need to go through it many more times, since only a total idiot would go on selling your product in Germany after this injunction, let alone sign up now. Even if no further court action were taken, anybody in Germany they try to sell to who looks up your name online will find news of that injunction.
Do you really think they will go: ah well, that’s just a ban that applies to one salesperson, and what’s more I don’t live in Hamburg, I’m sure it’s a great product if I buy it from someone else?
A beautiful piece of linguistics. In other words, the German court are saying that the claims are total bollocks, but being polite about it.
Plus “It is difficult to conclude from the available evidence that X is true” requires less evidence than “X is false”, and keeps the burden of proof on those claiming that X is true.
As one of the acting lawyers in these cases I can provide the following explanations:
Meanwhile different judges at the Hamburg District Court have issued three injunctions against any distribution and advertising of the product (dated Jan 21, Jan 31, Feb 04).
Proceedings were filed against three different vendors, because we had no information about an official branch of that selling network in Europe.
But the main object of the decisions was the product Adapt X.1 itself with the current declaration.
The health claims that varied from one vendor to the other ones were subject of further bans, issued by the court within the several orders.
One of the vendors published a study as proof of effect of Adapt X.1. Apart from other deficiencies we found inconsistent data on the content of the product in the report. Subject of the study was the product “Savanna Health (Sleep Aid) dietary supplement”.
Content in the study report on page 2: “extract from corn grass (Zea mays)”. But according to the abstract Page 8 (abstract) extracts of “corn grass, wheat grass, and bamboo” were used (?)
One client has ordered the product and transferred it to a specialized laboratory in Stuttgart. The experts there have not found Polyphenols in traceable amounts. Polyphenols are advertised to be the active agent.
Applications for patents were filed in Europe, based on the US patents, but failed.
An advertising with US patents could be lawful, but only if vendors make clear what was patented. Up to now, they could not verify any patent for Adapt X.1 anywhere.
This is fake. Our clients do not use any clauses prohibiting any activities for several providers, even if they are competitors.
Our client just claims a fair competition within the rules of the European market that excludes misleading advertisments.
Thanks for the clarifications Stefan, so just to confirm:
As of February 4th Adapt X.1 is completely banned (promotion and distribution) across Germany?
Any idea why the EUR patents failed?
Thanks for responding and your further request.
The acting civil court cannot give general orders. The threat of a fine up to 250.000 € or coercive detention can only affect the person(s) that are directly involved in the proceedings.
But the first order of all three decisions issued by several judges were only related to the acts of advertising (of any kind) and selling the product in Germany. The content of that order has no relation the vendor as person or any individual behavior.
Only further orders in all decisions additionally affected the individual claims found on private websites of vendors or on their accounts in Facebook.
So we could expand the civil ban of the product – according to order #1 – to any other vendor at any time. We just had to file a further application to the court.
According to the decision the active use of the advertising and shopping system myaregolife.com in Germany would be the basis for a new order corresponding to the existing ones – expanded to the new defendant.
Even administrative (governmental) institutions in Germany can only adress the ban of selling a certain product to a concrete natural person or company – and not to the public in general.
I feel grateful reading the clarification above.