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"Aha moment": Oprah and Insurance Company Settle Trademark Dispute

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By Kamika Dunlap on November 13, 2009 5:50 AM

Looks like their "aha moment" has finally arrived.

Mutual of Omaha insurance company and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions have settled a trademark dispute over the popular phrase, according to the Associated Press.

The insurance company began using "official sponsor of the aha moment" in a national advertising campaign.

When Oprah caught wind of this, her Harpo Productions company sent a letter to Omaha insurance stop using "aha moment" as a part of its advertising campaign. Winfrey's representatives argue the phrase was synonymous with Winfrey and her show and is one of her trademarks. 

Her web site and magazine describe "aha moments" as "those flashes of understanding" with guests on her show.

The insurance company responded with the lawsuit and documents to prove it had obtained preliminary approval of a federal trademark. Mutual also claims that no opposition was made to its trademark application.

Oprah says she made it famous, and the insurance company says she didn't "police the alleged mark."

Jim Nolan, a spokesman for Mutual, and Angela DePaul, a spokeswoman for Winfrey's Chicago-based Harpo Productions Inc., would only say Monday that the trademark dispute was resolved on fair and amicable grounds.

No details of the settlement were outlined in documents filed last month in U.S. District Court in Omaha.

Trademark office records show Harpo applied for protection of "Aha! Moments" in entertainment services, and in magazines. Whereas, Mutual of Omaha has applied to register "Proud sponsor of life's aha moments," "Official sponsor of life's aha moments," and "Celebrating life's aha moments," all as applied to the insurance field.

Ah, now I understand.