Amicus Brief

Pom Wonderful v. The Coca-Cola Company

Published: March 6, 2014


U.S. Supreme Court

Our Position

The Court should reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that a private party cannot bring a Lanham Act false advertising claim challenging a product label regulated under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Congress enacted the Lanham Act and FDCA for different but complementary purposes and there was no irreconcilable conflict in the application of the statutes here. By reversing the decision, the Court will recognize Congress’s intent to enact a broad, federal unfair competition law that promotes fair business competition and benefits the public interest.


The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit decision, ruling that competitors may bring Lanham Act claims challenging food and beverage labels regulated by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) because, among other reasons: a) the case does not raise the question whether state law is pre-empted by a federal law, but instead concerns the alleged preclusion of a cause of action under one federal statute by the provisions of another federal statute; and b) neither the Lanham Act nor the FDCA, in express terms, forbids or limits Lanham Act claims challenging labels that are regulated by the FDCA. Read the full decision here.