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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Pomegranate Juice Feud|Heads to Supreme Court

(CN) - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide if Pom Wonderful can pursue a Lanham Act false-advertising claim over a rival juice drink that's regulated under another federal law.

The justices took up POM Wonderful v. Coca-Cola, a case originally filed in 2008 in California by pomegranate juice maker Pom Wonderful.

Pom claimed that Coca-Cola's Minute Maid pomegranate blueberry drink contains mostly apple and grape juice, and less than 1 percent each of pomegranate or blueberry juice.

The drink's name and label violate state law and the false-advertising provision of the federal Lanham Act, according to Pom.

A federal judge in Los Angeles rejected Pom's Lanham Act challenge, and the 9th Circuit agreed with that portion of the ruling.

The three-judge panel unanimously held that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act bars a Lanham Act claim related to product names and labeling.

In its petition to the high court, Pom argued that the 9th Circuit's ruling "disregards" the Supreme Court's "repeated instruction that courts must give full effect to allegedly competing federal statutes unless they are in 'irreconcilable conflict.'"

"The court of appeals did not rely on any actual provision of statutory text - either in the Lanham Act or the FDCA - to support its conclusion that Pom's Lanham Act claim could not proceed," Pom claimed.

The high court agreed to take up the case without comment.

Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito took no part in the decision to grant certiorari.

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