Costco markets, sells and distributes the Kirkland Signature Glucose line of joint health dietary supplements. As alleged in the complaint, through an extensive, widespread, comprehensive and uniform nationwide marketing campaign, Costco claims that its Kirkland Glucose products help improve joint mobility, rebuild cartilage and improve joint function for all joints in the human body, for adults of all ages and for all manner and stages of joint related ailments. For example, on each and every Kirkland Glucose Handwriting product label and/or package, Costco prominently states that Kirkland Glucose is “Clinically Proven Effective” for “optimum mobility” and “as a building block for healthy cartilage” and that “two tablets per day deliver” these benefits, as well as “nourishes JOINT and CONNECTIVE TISSUE” and “supports JOINT CUSHIONING” (hereafter referred to as the “joint renewal, mobility and rejuvenation” representations). On each and every Kirkland Glucose and MSM product label and/or package, Costco makes similar joint renewal, mobility and rejuvenation claims and also promises that “noticeable improvement in flexibility and range of motion should be expected after taking this supplement as directed on a consistent basis.” According to the complaint, however, the Kirkland Glucose products do not benefit or promote joint renewal, mobility and rejuvenation. Clinical cause and effect studies have found no causative link between the ingredients in the Kirkland Glucose products.
The Kirkland Signature Glucose line of joint health dietary supplements include: (1) Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucose handwriting Sulfate (“Kirkland Glucose Handwriting”); and (2) Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucose HCL and MSM (“Kirkland Glucose and MSM”) (collectively, “Kirkland Glucose” or the “Products”). and joint renewal, mobility and rejuvenation. The complaint alleges that Costco does not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support its representations. Costco’s representations are false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public.
Despite the deceptive nature of Costco’s representations, Costco conveyed and continues to convey its deceptive joint renewal, mobility and rejuvenation representations through a variety of media, including in its print advertisements, as well as on its Product packages and labeling, website and on-line promotional materials. The only reason a consumer would purchase the Kirkland Glucose products is to obtain the advertised joint health benefits, which Kirkland Glucose does not provide.
Costco’s marketing and advertising campaign is designed to cause consumers to buy Kirkland Glucose. Costco’s deceptive marketing and advertising campaign has succeeded. Estimated sales of joint dietary supplements including Kirkland Glucose approached $820 million in 2006