ZO Skin Health, a company founded by Dr. Zein Obagi, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking an injunction and other relief against Obagi Medical Products, claiming, among other things, anti-competitive practices. According to the complaint, Obagi Medical (a company also founded by Dr. Obagi but later sold to outside investors), contacted a would-be e-commerce distributor that was ready to distribute products for ZO.
According to the plaintiff, this contact, which reports say mentioned a non-compete agreement between the parties, interfered with the distribution of its new product line.
Obagi Medical Products has denied any anti-competitive conduct in the matter, and says it will vigorously defend the suit.
Competition in the skin care industry is nothing new, but it has been intensifying in recent years. The demand for anti-aging skin care products has increased over the last decade as baby-boomers have taken advantage of advances in skin care science. In fact, between 2006 and 2008, U.S. sales alone rose 13% to 1.6 billion dollars, and the trend shows no sign of weakening.