• Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 21,920 other followers

  • Instagram

    Attention all students - Attend the keynote with Mark Lynas, participate in interactive breakout sessions, and a chance to win prizes at the 2nd Annual IFTSA Global Summit. Make sure you register for this FREE event for all students on November 9 at 12pm CST! Link available in bio. 
#foodscience #foodsciencestudent #students #globalsummit #Repost @foodgrads ・・・
Catch the latest episode of #TheDish Listen to Heather talk about #sensoryanalysis #foodscience #leadership #ift #studentassociations #foodtech #flavorchemist #ift_sa #foodpodcast #calpoly Penn State hosted a meeting of IFT journals' Scientific Editors and staff this week. 
The top picture is the touring of the famous Berkey Creamery in Penn State's Food Science building. The bottom picture is the group at the Nittany Lion Inn for dinner. 
Penn State is the home of our most prolific journals editor, Dr. Manfred Kroger, as well as IFT's president, Dr. John Coupland. 
Thank you for hosting us and showing us a great time! Celebrating all things fall at IFT - Football, potluck, board games galore! #companyculture

U.S. Supreme Court Paves Way for More False Advertising Disputes

Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 JuicesOn June 12, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an 8-0 ruling in favor of Pom Wonderful in a longstanding false advertising dispute against rival beverage company The Coca-Cola Co. The Supreme Court held that competitors can bring Lanham Act claims like Pom Wonderful’s challenging food and beverage labels regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

At issue in the case was Coca-Cola’s “Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices,” which is 99% apple and grape juice. Pom Wonderful (Pom), who has a competing pomegranate-blueberry juice blend, sued Coca-Cola. It alleged that the juice’s name and other labeling features were misleading under the federal Lanham Act—a statute that allows competitors to sue based on the false or misleading description of goods (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)).

Coca-Cola asserted that its label complied with the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and, as such, Pom’s claims were barred. The Supreme Court was not persuaded. It held that the two statutes complement each other in the federal regulation of misleading food and beverage labels, and one statute should not be read to preclude operation of the other.

What does this mean for food and beverage manufacturers going forward? The Supreme Court has paved the way for more competitor false advertising disputes. The Court made clear that compliance with the FDCA and FDA regulations does not immunize a company from a lawsuit, at least one based on a competitor-to-competitor federal Lanham Act claim. Food and beverage manufacturers now have new ammunition to go after their competitors for labeling they believe is misleading and harmful to their business. To avoid potential claims by competitors, food and beverage companies will now need to review their labels for more than just compliance with FDA regulations.

This ruling does not, however, subject companies to broader claims based on state law. The Supreme Court made clear that Pom does not address the preemption of state law claims. The Justices stated plainly: “this is not a pre-emption case.” They also made clear that the case did “not raise the question whether state law is pre-empted by a federal law.” Therefore, companies are less likely to face additional consumer class actions based on this decision in light of the strong arguments that the decision does not apply to state consumer protection claims.

Claudia Diavetesi Lisa WongchenkoClaudia M. Vetesi and Lisa A. Wongchenko, Litigation Associates
Morrison & Foerster LLP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: