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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Spears given US lawsuit deadline
Britney Spears
Her personal life has been making headlines in recent months
A US judge has ordered Britney Spears to explain why she has not responded to a lawsuit filed by diet pill makers.

The companies behind Zantrex-3 claim Spears' lawyers threatened to sue them for using her image without permission.

Zoller Laboratories, DG Enterprises and Basic Research LLC are asking a federal judge in Utah to declare they have not violated any state or federal laws.

Spears failed to respond by 1 September and now has until 22 October to do so or the companies will win by default.

The action arose after Spears was allegedly seen spilling a bottle of Zantrex-3 at London's Heathrow Airport last year.

Second time lucky

The Utah-based companies capitalised on the media interest by using Spears in their advertising.

The lawsuit was filed in November in Salt Lake City but it took months to serve Spears with the papers.

The pop star recently split with the manager who has guided her career since she was 13 years old.

Larry Rudolph said he and the singer had "mutually agreed not to renew their nine-year management relationship".

Meanwhile, the singer formalised her marriage with dancer Kevin Federline last week, almost three weeks after their Los Angeles ceremony.

Spears, 22, and Federline, 26, filed for their marriage licence on 7 October, her publicist said.

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