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Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 9:22 AM

Plugged-In Furniture - What's Past Is Prologue

As furniture becomes more and more tech-driven (e.g., USB ports, chargers, coolers, etc.) we can sometimes forget that claims to advancements in the basic sofa have been around for some time. Today's Westlaw's "Headnote of the Day" e-mail contained the case headnote "Sitting on a couch is not exercise." This got my attention and warranted a deeper look.

The headnote comes from Stauffer Laboratories, Inc. v. F.T.C., 343 F.2d 75 (9th Cir. 1965). In Stauffer, the Ninth Circuit was asked to review a preliminary injunction directing Stauffer Labs and its principal officer from making claims that use of the "Magic Couch" or "Posture-Rest" sofa results in weight loss. The sofa consisted of a central oscillating section measuring 10 by 15 inches and two larger sections that are attached to opposite sides of the central section. The couch user lies upon it with his head on one attached portion and his legs on another while the central portion of his body is given what was called "effortless exercise" through oscillation of the central portion. The user was also to follow a low-calorie diet! The Ninth Circuit affirmed, finding that ads touting the sofa's ability to reduce "inches and pounds" were deceptive.

Have things changed that much today? Do you know of any "technologically advanced" pieces of furniture that make exceptional claims?

The full text of the "Magic Couch" ads:

‘GET SLIM
STAY SLIM
insist on STAUFFER the only home plan backed by 20 years of reducing success The Stauffer principle has helped more than 5 million women remake their figures.
It's a complete figure-beautifying plan of effortless exercise and calorie reduction.
Stauffer's ‘Magic Couch’— The Posture-Rest unit— provides controlled rhythmic motion.
Helps take off excess weight, remove unwanted inches.
No starvation diets. No strenuous exercise.'
‘Exercise comes first with Stauffer. But it's effortless exercise—without work or strain— on Stauffer's Magic Couch. This exercise does away with inches * * * tones and firms hard-to-reach problem areas * * * improves posture * * * even reproportions. When you want to lose both inches and pounds, exercise on the Magic Couch is combined with sensible calorie reduction. This brings about results you just can't get from diet alone. And every woman who reduces with Stauffer does it with the help and encouragement of another woman * * * a trained Stauffer counselor.’
‘Greet Summer
With a lovelier figure
How you'll look in a swimsuit depends on how you REDUCE. No longer need heavy hips, thighs, legs and waistline ‘rolls' embarrass you. Beautify your posture, reproportion your figure into more youthful looking, lovelier lines by trimming away unwanted inches with the famous STAUFFER HOME REDUCING PLAN of effortless exercise and calorie reduction. * * *’
‘* * * The Magic Couch (Posture Rest) is the heart of the Stauffer Home Reducing Plan of effortless exercise and calorie reduction. * * *’
‘You lose unwanted pounds.
You lose inches where you need to— from hips, tummy, thighs.
You achieve a graceful, lifted posture.
Your skin fits smoothly— sagging tissue is firmed and toned. * * *‘
‘There is more to the Stauffer Home Plan than just reducing. Rather, it is a complete program of scientific figure control. It not only takes off excess weight, but also removes hard-to-lose inches from ankles, thighs, hips and tummy.
‘For a woman, it tones and firms sagging muscles, beautifies posture for a lovelier carriage, and gives her a more youthful-looking figure.’
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