Awakened has received a stop and desists letter from the First Fruits Business Ministry about the promotion of its Zenith dietary supplement.
According to FFBM, Awakened made “false, misleading, and fraudulent promises concerning the product Trisynex from First Fruits.”
Following a review of the facts last week, BehindMLM expressed concern over Awakend’s marketing assertions.
Our main worry was that the patent Awakened claimed Zenith was produced under, not only didn’t belong to the formulator Vietal Nutrition but that it had already been beyond its expiration date.
Confirming such suspicions and giving context to the current situation is FFBM’s stop and desist letter.
It appears that Vietal and Awakened are misrepresenting their own product Zenith as Trisynex, a product of First Fruits.
This is a typical bait-and-switch that deceives and can put customers at risk.
These behaviors violate relevant federal and state laws by engaging in unfair competition, passing off, false advertising, and source and origin misrepresentation.
This context has been divided into the many topics mentioned in the paper below.
Anything in a green box is a verbatim quotation from FFBM’s stop and desist, which was issued to Awakend’s counsel on September 7, 2022, and bears that date.
The Trisynex Patent has expired.
Awakened misrepresents itself as the sole owner of US Patent No. 6,899,892 (often known as the “‘892 patent”).
As you said in a recent filing you made on behalf of Tripharma, LLC in the case of Tripharma, LLC v. First Fruits Business Ministry LLC, et al., this patent has EXPIRED.
Everyone no longer has exclusive rights to the ‘892 patent, as you acknowledged, and any competent attorney or businessperson would know that.
It is illegal to assert exclusive rights to a patent that has expired.
Regarding Trisynex’s present situation about patenting;
First, Trisynex, not Zenith, was the subject of the UCONN investigation.
First Fruits also owns U.S. “Composition for and Method to Increase Serum Adiponectin and Reduce Body Fat,” according to Patent No. 10,632,092 (the “092 patent”).
The United States properly awarded this issued patent. On April 28, 2020, First Fruits was given a patent by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and assigned to Roger J. Catarino and William D. Kuhne. This patent is taken to be legitimate.
Trisynex research from 2009 that Awakened falsified
Last month BehindMLM reported that Awakened was giving customers doctored research that it claimed to be related to Zenith.
Although Awakened now admits the initial study didn’t apply to Zenith, he continues to believe Trisynex and Zenith share the same formula.
Here is FFBM’s viewpoint:
The study’s copy that Awakened has distributed to potential customers and distributors has been altered to list “Zenith” as the study’s subject.
Not only did “Zenith” not exist over 14 years ago, but Trisynex was the real focus of the investigation. Simply altering the study, Vietal and Awakened replaced every instance of “Zenith” with “Trisynex.”
Awakened and Vietal were not engaged in the clinical research in any way, and it is obvious that they changed the study’s content to mislead potential customers and distributors into thinking Zenith had through a thorough clinical evaluation.
It is obvious that it was not, and Awakend’s alteration of that study violates state and federal laws by infringing on other people’s intellectual property rights and violating their trademarks.
Colin F. Watson is utilized by Awakened for Zenith marketing
Colin F. Watson, a self-described fitness and nutrition expert, has been hired by Awakened to participate in a video titled “On Zenith and Awakened Health,” in which he offers a testimonial in favor of “Zenith’s” efficacy.
Mr. Watson reiterates the lies about the creation of Zenith, the falsification of the 2008 clinical research to make it appear as though it was evaluating “Zenith,” and the efficacy of “Zenith” rather than the real medicine, Trisynex.
In the opening of his film, Mr. Watson claims that the CEO of Awakened, Danielle Meoli, made these false statements to him personally. He also claims that he read a copy of the (doctored) research to back his claims.
James (Jim) Roufs and Lorna Vanderhaeghe’s involvement in Awakend’s Zenith marketing
To deceive customers and potential recruits for Awakend’s multi-level marketing scheme about the genesis of “Zenith,” the company created a second marketing film.
In this video, Lorna Vanderhaeghe and James (Jim) Roufs, two “experts” on women’s health, promote the release of “Zenith.”
By doing this, Mr. Roufs and Ms. Vanderhaeghe replicate Awakend’s deceptive claims about the creation of “Zenith” and the applicability of the clinical research from the University of Connecticut to “Zenith.”
In this video, Awakend’s attempts to deceive their client base and persuade naïve consumers to take part in their multi-level marketing scheme are shown yet again.
Vietal and Awakened intentionally mislead victims into joining their campaign of deceptive advertising, unethical business practices, and misrepresentation regarding First Fruits’ ownership rights to Trisynex with each recruit, further establishing their liability, including vicarious liability for engaging in these numerous deceptive business practices.
Statements made by Vietal Nutrition’s attorney about FFBM and Trisynex (as seen on Awakend’s website)
This already extensive laundry list of wrongdoings has been made worse by Reid Winthrop, General Counsel of Vietal, who launched a smear campaign on Awakend’s website.
Mr. Roger Catarino and First Fruits are referred to as “infringers” in Mr. Winthrop’s false and defamatory allegations, which also repeat earlier falsehoods about “Zenith” made by Vietal and Awakened.
The claim that “Zenith” was the focus of the University of Connecticut investigation is a fabrication that Mr. Winthrop keeps repeating.
Additionally, he keeps repeating the fallacy that First Fruits’ ownership of Trisynex amounts to “an effort to steal the tradename and create uncertainty where none existed,” despite the fact that First Fruits has no desire to use the tradename Zenith and is the owner of the technology that Vietal and Zenith are allegedly infringing upon.
His claims are blatantly untrue and constitute defamation per se since they are intended to hurt First Fruits and Mr. Catarino’s commercial interests.
In the same statement posted on Awakend’s website, Mr. Winthrop also discusses TriPharma, LLC’s commercial operations, possession of the “exclusive rights” to market items covered by the ‘892 patent, and settlements with Imagenetix, Inc. and First Fruits.
This is untrue and deceptive. Mr. Winthrop omits to point out that the ‘892 patent is expired and does not grant such rights since it is so.
Mr. Winthrop neglects to point out that TriPharma’s right to use the ‘892 patent came to an end on October 1, 2014, which is over eight years ago.
Additionally, Mr. Winthrop neglects to note that on December 8, 2014, TriPharma attempted to extend the license but was rejected by Judge Selna of the Federal District Court.
Mr. Winthrop also neglects to mention that, less than two months ago, Judge Selna rejected Tripharma’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the ongoing dispute between Tripharma and First Fruits, finding that Tripharma had not shown a likelihood of success in support of its ongoing fictitious claim that it holds the exclusive license to the patent and associated intellectual property.
Finally, Mr. Winthrop neglects to note that the CEO of TriPharma LLC, Evan P. Dameshek, was charged with bankruptcy fraud under 18 U.S.C. 157 and entered a guilty plea in connection with a subsequent and related bankruptcy action.
To mislead Imagenetix, Inc. in 2019 over the exact product allegedly now solely held by Vietal and Awakened, namely Zenith, Mr. Dameshek acknowledged falsifying almost $3,200,000.00 in commercial operations.
Demands made of Awakened and Vital Nutrition by FFBM
First Fruits requests that Vietal and Awakened stop making any false, misleading, or deceptive representations concerning the real nature of Trisynex as described in this document, effective immediately.
Furthermore, First Fruits demands that Vietal and Awakened retract the false statements they made in a formal statement, remove the deceptive statements from their website(s), and stop advertising or selling “Zenith” or any other products that were made possible by the unauthorized use of First Fruits’ intellectual property.
First Fruits disagrees with all of the untrue and damaging claims that have been made thus far, but it is even more worried by the continuous marketing and distribution of “Zenith” that are blatantly in violation of First Fruits’ intellectual property rights.
When it comes to a complicated multi-level marketing plan, Vietal and Awakened pretend to be the victims, but in reality, they lack any legal permission to sell, promote, or distribute Trisynex in any form or to allow others to do so.
Law requires TriPharma, Vietal, Awakened, and Mr. Winthrop to save all evidence about their activities and conduct because they were all given clear written notice of First Fruits’ prospective legal claims.
This entails that they must save any physical copies and electronically stored material about the aforementioned issues and refrain from destroying them, including texts and emails with current and former TriPharma, Vietal, and Awakened workers as well as other individuals.
Any freestanding computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, cloud storage system, email or social media account, or another digital device that may have data-storage capabilities, including but not limited to hard disk drives, optical disk drives, removable media, such as flash drives, is subject to this obligation to preserve all documents, electronic files, emails, texts, voicemails, social media messaging, hidden system files, and metadata currently located on or contained in any of these devices.
The aforementioned requirements to preserve information are ongoing, therefore they cover any information that existed before the date of this letter as well as any information that will exist in the future or after.
As you can probably see, First Fruits takes these issues extremely seriously and will do all in its power to uphold its legal rights.
We trust that now that you, TriPharma, Vietal, and Awakened are aware of our worries, they will stop doing these and any other illegal things.
Awakened and Vietal Nutrition have until September 14 to comply, according to FFBM.
By September 14, 2022, if you haven’t responded and agreed to take the aforementioned corrective measures, First Fruits will take the necessary steps to protect its legal rights and stop false advertising, false source and origin designations, passing-off, unfair competition, and other illegal acts or practices. Please make the appropriate decisions.
I’m going to put an end to any wacky conspiracy notions since I am quite aware of what occurs in the MLM sector.
The interest of BehindMLM in Awakend and Zenith is limited to our coverage of the MLM sector. Over the course of the past 12 years, we have covered dishonest MLM business practices.
BehindMLM has “no skin in the game,” so to speak, regardless of who wins this continuing dispute: Awakened or First Fruits Business Ministry. Whatever happens, we’ll cover it as part of our obligation to our readers.
Except for this piece, BehindMLM covered Awakend and Zenith as part of our regular coverage of the MLM sector. Awakened, Vietal Nutrition or anybody speaking on their behalf had never communicated with one another.
On September 1st, FFBM’s owner and CEO, Roger Catarino (right), made contact.
According to Catarino, the information that BehindMLM has so far released on Awakend and Zenith is “basically correct.”
He asked me to write him “for the truth that would be supported by facts.”
On September 8th, I answered Catarino’s email.
Catarino responded to this by telling me of the cease and desist letter sent to Awakend.
I vowed to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the facts. Please refer to the accompanying document for more information regarding the infractions Vietal and Awakened have committed and still do.
The email included a copy of the C&D.
Awakend and FFBM have not contributed to BehindMLM’s coverage on Awakend and Zenith thus far.
Although I did ask and receive permission from Catarino to report on the C&D he supplied me, he had no involvement or control over this article’s publishing.
BehindMLM has not received any cash or other rewards from Catarino or FFBM. Beyond requesting permission to report on the C&D, BehindMLM has not made any agreements with FFBM, Awakend, Vietal Nutrition, or any other associated parties. This is out of politeness.
Awakend or Vietal Nutrition have not yet gotten in touch with BehindMLM regarding our ongoing investigation or reporting.
I’ve had to regularly call out Awakend distributors who mindlessly regurgitate the company’s marketing claims in the comments section of our Awakend articles, disregarding our independent reporting and research.
Awakend’s response to the question of whether the Trisynex patent it is claiming to be using is still valid is unknown to me. Or the fact that, as of just now, neither Awakend nor Vietal Nutrition seems to have any legitimate claims to any ownership interests in the production, promotion, or sale of Trisynex.
I believe Patent US10632092B2 indicates that this is not the case for First Fruits Ministries.