The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

by Bronwen

Elizabeth Holmes created an empire. She was known as “the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire” and the “next Steve Jobs” but in reality this was all a fabricated lie. For years, Holmes deceived the world with a seemingly perfect company. Then, one day it all came crashing down and her life completely changed. 

In 2004, Elizabeth Holmes, then 19 years old, dropped out of Stanford University to pursue something she was passionate about, Theranos. Deriving from her lifelong fear of needles, Theranos created the Edison Test, with the intention to revolutionize blood testing. The Edison Test used a painless finger prick to detect conditions such as cancer or diabetes without the use of needles. While existing technology needed one vial of blood for each test, Theranos claimed to be able to perform up to 240 tests with one prick of blood. This technology had never been seen before, and because of it, everyone was intrigued. Holmes raised 700 million dollars from investors and she quickly became the youngest female billionaire. At its peak, Theranos was valued at 9 billion dollars. 

As Theranos became popular, it seemed like Holmes had a perfect life- a beautiful home, plenty of money and a relationship with the business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The only problem was that the technology didn’t work. Not only did the machine not work, but it gave people false diagnoses. One woman identified as L.M. was diagnosed with a thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s disease based on inaccurate Theranos test results. Her doctor ordered testing from another lab company that showed she did not have that condition. When news of a defective product broke in 2015, Theranos and Holmes denied these allegations, deeming them untrue. Eventually, in 2018, Theranos came crashing down when the company was charged with fraud and Holmes and Balwani were indicted on eleven counts of fraud. When these charges occurred, Holmes was stripped of her control of Theranos, and after months without an interested buyer, the company officially was forced to close on September 5th, 2018. 

Ever since Holmes was arrested in 2018 and paid her bail which was $500 000, she has led a private life while awaiting trial. One thing that has stayed consistent is the fact that Holmes has maintained her innocence throughout the past three years. Finally after four delays, three due to Covid and one because of her being pregnant, Elizabeth’s trial began in August. Following 11 weeks of testimony and evidence, Holmes’s defense unexpectedly called her to the stand at the end of November. Holmes tells a story that is very different from that of the prosecution. Her account of the story is that her boyfriend – and COO of Theranos at the time – Balwani abused and emotionally controlled Holmes, impairing her mental state. Balwani, now 56, facing the same fraud charges called the claims “outrageous”. Balwani’s trial will begin in January 2022. It is up to the jury now to decide if Holmes will be convicted of the charges she is facing. If convicted, she can face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. 

Although the Theranos scandal occurred years ago, this situation is far from over. The damage and effect on people’s lives will never be forgotten and Elizabeht Holmes will go down as one of the biggest con artists in history. In the weeks to come, the trial will finish and a verdict will be made about whether Elizabeth Holmes is guilty or not guilty. To keep up with the developments in this case, check in on credible news sources such as CNN, BBC News or Yahoo News. Or, listen to the podcast Bad Blood which goes into depth about the Theranos scandal and offers trial updates.  


Lululemon Sues Peleton for their “copy-cat” Workout Apparel.

by Diosmery

On Wednesday, November 30, Lululemon filed a lawsuit against Peloton, because of their “copycat” athletic clothing products. 

              It started off as a partnership between the two most recognised home and fitness companies in the world, Lululemon (an athletic clothing company) and Peloton (an exercise equipment company).  According to court documents, the two companies reached a deal in 2016 that allowed Peloton to put its logo alongside Lululemon’s on certain Lululemon products that were then sold through Peloton’s retail outfits.

The lawsuit comes after Peloton ended the co-branding agreement with Lululemon earlier this year and announced its own private label, Peloton Apparel, in September 2021. In documents filed in a U.S. court on Monday (November 22), the athletic apparel retailer claims Peloton copied several of Lululemon’s innovative designs and sold “knock-offs” of Lululemon’s products, claiming them as their own. Lululemon filed a claim in California District Court on Tuesday (November 23), accusing Peloton of patent infringement. A patent infringement is the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. 

On Nov. 11, Lululemon sent Peloton a cease-and-desist letter asking the company to “immediately stop selling its copy-cat products” — pointing to Peloton’s One Lux Tight which is almost identical to one of Lululemon’s all-time best-selling products (The Align Pant), their Strappy Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Legging, and many more products. According to the Lululemon lawsuit, Peloton said it needed until Nov. 24 to respond to the accusations. But instead of a letter back, Peloton filed its own lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, citing Lululemon’s “baseless threats” and asking a judge to declare that the company had done nothing wrong.

Peloton also claims that the brands of both companies are distinctive and well-recognized, “making confusion between products a virtual impossibility.” But in a series of exhibits filed with a California court, Lululemon alleges several Peloton styles are nearly identical to Lululemon products. Lululemon also claims that it is “likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, and to deceive” customers into thinking Peloton Apparel has a partnership with Lululemon.

Lululemon has spent “enormous time, effort, and expense cultivating in the marketplace,” according to the company and Peloton is not taking this into consideration. 

 Peloton is also accused of attempting to copy Lululemon’s clothing designs and pass off its goods as Lululemon’s high-quality products in order to misappropriate the immense goodwill that Lululemon has spent enormous time, effort, and expense cultivating in the marketplace,” according to the company.

In an emailed statement, Shannon Higginson, Lululemon general counsel and senior vice-president, said: “We are confident in our position and look forward to properly resolving this case through the courts.”

Peloton said it would not comment on this lawsuit.