January 14, 2014
Authored by: Brandon Neuschafer
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a dispute between POM Wonderful and Coca-Cola involving the intersection between FDA food labeling requirements and the Lanham Act’s restrictions against deceptive product labeling and advertising. At its essence, the Supreme Court is being asked to determine whether a private party can bring a Lanham Act claim against a food manufacturer for a food product whose label otherwise complies with FDA regulations governing the label.
POM Wonderful and Coca-Cola have been entrenched in litigation for years surrounding Coca-Cola’s marketing of pomegranate blueberry juice that contained only small amounts of pomegranate and blueberry juices (about 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively) and larger amounts of apple and grape juices. POM Wonderful has long argued that Coca-Cola’s use of the term “pomegranate blueberry juice” is misleading to consumers given the actual ingredients in the product.
In 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that POM Wonderful could not