5 - POM v Coke: First round to POM at the Supreme Court
While the FDA’s fresh look at evaporated cane juice did not make front-page news in 2014, one legal story that did was the POM v Coke case at the Supreme Court.
The case being reviewed by the court was a false advertising case brought under the Lanham Act in which POM alleged that Coke misled consumers by marketing a Minute Maid juice comprised almost entirely of apple and grape juice as ‘Pomegranate Blueberry'.
Coke said it followed the letter of the law covering juice labeling, but POM said shoppers were being duped. And the Supreme Court sided with POM.
In a ruling that has created some sleepless nights for regulatory affairs managers, the nation’s top lawmakers agreed that false advertising cases under the Lanham Act are not necessarily determined by whether or not a company is complying with the letter of the relevant piece of food labeling regulation, but whether consumers are being deceived.
However, victory is not yet POM’s. All the Supreme Court did was agree that POM had a right to bring the case. It still has to win it…