Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Businessweek
Pursuits

Pom Wins in the Supreme Court. Now it's Pom v. Coke, Round 2

POM Wonderful juice
POM Wonderful juicePhotograph by Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy didn’t mince words during oral arguments in April between Pom Wonderful and Coca-Cola. He said he found the labeling of a Coca-Cola product called Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of Five Juices misleading. That’s because it contains only 0.3 percent pomegranate juice and 0.2 percent blueberry juice. On Thursday, Kennedy wrote on behalf of a unanimous court that Pom can sue Coke over the label.

The ruling means that food labels will come under increasing scrutiny, and it’s possible many won’t fare well. “The decision will now make claims on packaging and labeling additional fodder for competitive challenges, which will likely lead to an increase in brand wars,” Linda Goldstein, a lawyer at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, wrote in an e-mail. Coke’s lawyer had claimed that it would be a “logistical nightmare” for food companies to have to change labels in response to every lawsuit.