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San Diego-based Imagenetix Inc. contends MonaVie engaged in a "scheme and conspiracy" by claiming its products contained Celadrin, an ingredient in remedies marketed by Imagenetix that are designed to ease arthritis pain, joint inflammation and promote joint health. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, names MonaVie founder and president Dallin Larsen, other executives, distributors and employees, and related business entities.

Calls seeking comment were not returned by Larsen or attorneys representing Imagenetix.

Imagenetix is seeking a jury trial and has asked the court to bar MonaVie from making future claims regarding Celadrin.

Celadrin, which is taken orally or topically, is sold in stores such as Costco and Walgreens.

MonaVie, a multilevel marketer that uses independent distributors to market its products, "never obtained Imagenetix's permission . . . to use the Celadrin Trademark in connection with the sale, advertising or marketing on their products," the lawsuit claims.

Imagenetix claims MonaVie advertised that its products contained Celadrin in many channels including Web sites, blogs, online "chat" forums, DVDs and news releases.

Two months ago, Imagenetix consulted several Internet search engines, typing in "Celadrin" and MonaVie" together, the lawsuit said. One search engine alone, Yahoo, yielded more than 10,000 Web pages in which MonaVie distributors falsely claimed MonaVie products contained Celadrin, Imagenetix said.

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