Tags: supreme court | pomegranate juice | sue | coca-cola

Supreme Court: Pomegranate Juice Company Can Sue Coca-Cola Over Marketing

By    |   Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 06:19 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that POM Wonderful, the maker of pomegranate juice, can sue Coca-Cola for marketing a pomegranate-blueberry juice that POM Wonderful claims has misleading labels.

POM has contended that Coca-Cola’s product, which contains 0.3 percent pomegranate juice and 0.2 percent blueberry juice, has misleading labels.

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But the issue at stake wasn’t whether the advertising was actually misleading — although Slate pointed out that oral arguments seemed to reach the conclusion that it was — but whether POM could sue Coca-Cola for misleading advertising.

In court documents, the Supreme Court explained that two federal statutes deal with unfair competition from false or misleading product descriptions, the Lanham Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The FDCA enforcement is done primarily through government enforcements, while the Lanham Act is usually enforced through private lawsuits.

When POM brought a lawsuit against Coca-Cola for the marketing of its pomegranate-blueberry juice, a lower court found that the company couldn’t file a Lanham Act suit because of the FDCA.

Eight of the court justices (Justice Stephen Breyer recused himself) ruled that POM could sue, stating that neither Lanham or FDCA forbid lawsuits under the Lanham Act.

POM is also in court over a different case where the company is disagreeing with the Federal Trade Commission, which said POM can’t make certain health claims about its products. POM needs clinical trials before it can say its products fight heart disease and other health issues.

The Huffington Post said the food and beverage industry was very interested in the POM ruling because it could lead to more lawsuits. Coca-Cola’s attorneys made the argument that a "logistical nightmare" could occur if private lawsuits can force label changes, the Post said.

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that POM Wonderful, the maker of pomegranate juice, can sue Coca-Cola for marketing a pomegranate-blueberry juice that POM Wonderful claims has misleading labels.
supreme court, pomegranate juice, sue, coca-cola
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2014-19-12
Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 06:19 PM
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