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Supreme Court: Pom's unfair competition lawsuit can proceed

Many business owners in Florida would agree: competitors don’t always play fair. As a business owner, you’d like to think that the playing field is always level and that your competition will always act responsibly, but when money is at stake, sometimes companies utilize unfair business practices that can potentially kill your business.

Thankfully, the civil courts exist to give business owners a level plane on which to air their grievances. Juice company Pom Wonderful has been given the go-ahead to do just that after a recent Supreme Court ruling. Pom Wonderful claims that Coca-Cola’s marketing of their pomegranate juice could be considered unfair competition and they want the chance to demonstrate that in court. You see, Coca-Cola’s product is labeled “Pomegranate Blueberry,” yet it’s overwhelmingly made up of grape and apple juice — over 99 percent, in fact. A paltry 0.3 percent is pomegranate juice, with an even smaller percentage made up of blueberry and raspberry juice.

While suing over food labels is a legal gray area, the Supreme Court’s opinion said that nothing can stop a competitor from using the Lanham Act, which speaks to claims that are misleading or false and could give a competitor an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

So, Pom Wonderful’s lawsuit will go ahead and it will be interesting to see how this plays out because it could have far-reaching implications in the field of business litigation.

If you feel like a competitor has gained an advantage through false advertising or deceptive business practices, know that you do have options. A Florida attorney may be able to help you file a suit to recover damages and force them to stop.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Pom Wonderful Lawsuit Could Open Door For Litigation Against Deceptive Labeling,” Sam Hananel, June 12, 2014

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