SanMedica International LLC has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Utah federal court, accusing Amazon.com Inc. of nefarious tactics for redirecting search engine users looking for its anti-aging pill to other anti-aging products on Amazon’s site. 

On March 6, the company filed suit, alleging that Amazon.com refused its request to sell SeroVital, an anti-aging pill it distributes, on the Amazon.com site. According to SanMedica’s complaint, Amazon claims not to sell dietary supplement products that increase the human growth hormone, but it does sell products that compete with SeroVital. SanMedica also claims that Amazon bought ads with search engine providers that directed consumers seeking SeroVital on those sites to competing dietary supplements on Amazon.com.

SanMedica’s complaint in SanMedica International LLC v. Amazon.com Inc. states, "Defendant thus capitalizes on the goodwill of Plaintiffs’ scientifically supported product and carefully-developed intellectual property in order to ‘bait’ people searching for Plaintiffs’ product into viewing Defendant’s website, where Defendant is then able to ‘switch’ the product purportedly being offered to products other than those marketed and sold by Plaintiffs."

The other plaintiff is Western Holdings LLC, which owns Serovital’s trademark and copyrights and licenses them to SanMedica.

The plaintiffs’ legal claims are trademark infringement, unfair competition based on false representations in violation of the Lanham Act, unjust enrichment and violation of Utah’s truth in advertising act. They’re seeking a declaratory judgment that the defendant’s conduct is illegal and a permanent injunction.

Jason Kerr, a partner at Price Parkinson & Kerr in Salt Lake City who represents SanMedica, said "Amazon has actually advertised on Google and other search engines as if Serovital were available."

That conduct is a little different than using Google AdWords — which gives users online ads based on their Internet search terms — to direct a user to a competing product, he said.

Under the AdWords system, online advertisers pay Google for so-called "sponsored links" to their products when users search certain keywords.

Amazon.com, which does not yet have attorneys on the docket, "has a long-standing practice of not commenting on active litigation," according to an email from spokesman Ty Rogers.

Sheri Qualters can be contacted at squalters@alm.com.