Archives: In the Courts

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Hat Makers Marketed Made-Up “Made In America” Claims, FTC Says

In January of this year, the FTC announced its complaint against the Bollman Hat Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, SaveAnAmericanJob, LLC, for allegedly violating its policy on “Made in the USA” claims. Bollman and its subsidiary, which sells hats under the Bollman, Bailey Western, Betmar, Country Gentleman, Eddy Bros., Helen Kaminski, Jacaru, Kaminski XY, Kangol, … Continue Reading

Trader Joe’s Candies Are Tart, But Not “Natural,” False Advertising Suit Claims

Trader Joe’s “Ts & Js Lemon Grapefruit Lime Tangerine Sour Gummies” have soured the palate of at least one consumer, according to a recently-removed Southern District of California lawsuit. Plaintiff Serena Wong, who filed her complaint against the grocery giant earlier this year, claims that the candies contain an undisclosed artificial ingredient, d-l malic acid, … Continue Reading

Battle of the Bottles: Jack Daniel’s Brings Trademark and Trade Dress Infringement Suit Against Texas Distilleries

Jack Daniel’s is fighting hard to protect its iconic, all-American image against purported copycats. The famous Tennessee whiskey brand filed a lengthy complaint against Dynasty Spirits (“Dynasty”) and Buffalo Bayou Distilleries (“Buffalo Bayou”), two Texas distilleries, alleging trademark and trade dress infringement and dilution. Dynasty is responsible for the distilling and marketing of the accused … Continue Reading

Florida Federal Judge Admonishes “Shotgun Pleading,” Grants Dismissal

A Florida federal judge chided putative class action lead plaintiff Michael Fox for what she described as “a quintessential shotgun pleading” last month and dismissed two defendants to Fox’s consumer protection lawsuit. Fox alleged violations of Florida’s consumer protection and gratuity notice laws against Loews Corp., Loews Hotels Holding Corp., MB Redevelopment LLC, and Loews … Continue Reading

A Puffed Quinoa By Any Other Name Would Still Be False Advertising

Puffed quinoa snacks presumably would contain mostly quinoa right? Not according to the putative class action lawsuit filed in a New York federal court earlier this year. Lead plaintiff Russell Ransom alleges that defendant I Heart Foods Corp.’s line of “I Heart Keenwah” puffed quinoa snacks are not, as the name implies, primarily quinoa. Rather, … Continue Reading

Got Margarine? Post Seeks Dismissal of Mashed-Potato False Labelling Suit

Briefing closed last month on Post Holdings Inc.’s attempt to dismiss a putative class action false labeling suit over Post’s prepackaged mashed potatoes, which Post claims are “made with real butter.” The plaintiffs allege that although the product does contain real butter, Post misrepresented that in fact it also contains margarine. The plaintiffs initiated suit … Continue Reading

University of Illinois Launches Suit Against “Make Illinois Great Again” Shirt Seller

The University of Illinois sued Ted O’Malley, the seller of shirts that feature the University’s former symbol, “Chief Illiniwek,” and the phrase “Make Illinois Great Again” for trademark and copyright infringement, false advertising, trademark dilution, various common law torts, and violations of Illinois consumer protection laws in March of this year. The University owns various … Continue Reading

E.V.Oh.No! Olive Oil Salad Dressing Maker Must Face False Advertising Suit

An Illinois federal court recently rejected packaged food company Pinnacle Foods Group LLC’s attempt to dismiss a putative class action suit against it over its line of “Wishbone E.V.O.O. Dressing- Made With Extra Virgin Olive Oil” salad dressings. The lead plaintiff allegedly purchased a bottle of the dressing in Illinois and took it across state … Continue Reading

A Claim of Epic Proportions: Epic Games Hits Back in Suit Against 14-Year-Old

Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”), the company behind popular video game “Fortnite,” has refused to stand down in its copyright infringement and breach of contract suit against a 14-year-old gamer. Fortnite has seen booming success as a free, online game in which players must simply consent to the Terms of Service to create an account. The … Continue Reading

Elmo Needs a Hug: Sesame Workshop Loses its Motion for Temporary Restraining Order in Trademark Infringement Case

Last month, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that owns the famous children’s television show Sesame Street, filed a lawsuit against STX Productions, LLC, STX Financing, LLC, and STX Filmworks, Inc. (collectively, “STX”), alleging that STX’s use of the tagline, “No Sesame, All Street,” in a new movie trailer infringed on its trademark. Sesame Workshop contended … Continue Reading

A Straight-up Victory for States Rights in Regulating Sports Betting

On May 14, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.  This decision invalidates the key Federal prohibition on State-authorized sports gambling businesses, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).  Under PASPA, except in connection with very narrow exemptions, States could not authorize entities … Continue Reading

Judge Dismisses Some Country of Origin Claims Against Guinness Beer

In January 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts against Guinness beer for misrepresenting that Guinness Extra Stout was brewed in Dublin when it is actually brewed in Canada. Plaintiff claimed that the prominent use of “Traditionally Brewed” and “St. James’s Gate Dublin” in conjunction with “Imported Guinness Extra Stout” created a false … Continue Reading

Monkey See, Monkey Selfie, No Copyright

In 2016, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”) brought an action on behalf of Naruto, a Crested Macaque residing in Indonesia.  PETA asserted claims of copyright infringement against a wildlife photographer who published a book which included a selfie taken by Naruto using the photographer’s camera. The United States District Court for the … Continue Reading

“Weight Loss” vs. “Weight Management”: Vitamin Shoppe Sidesteps False Advertising Suit

Putative class representative Andrea Nathan renewed her efforts to hold Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. liable under California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and breaches of express and implied warranties over Vitamin Shoppe’s “Garcinia Cambogia” dietary supplements after a California district court judge tossed the suit in February of this year. Vitamin … Continue Reading

High Stakes: Iowa Ends Up Paying $1M For Blocking Pro-Marijuana T-Shirts

The state of Iowa will be covering the bill in a protracted lawsuit over Iowa State University’s decision to bar a chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“NORML”) from using the university’s trademarks on T-shirts. ISU students won approval in 2012 to use the ISU mascot bearing a marijuana leaf … Continue Reading

Company Settles Credit Card Laundering Scheme With FTC

Last month, the FTC announced a $1,384,500 settlement with Michael Abdelmesseh and KMA Merchant Services, LLC in a lawsuit regarding a deceptive credit card laundering scheme. The FTC alleged that the defendants telemarketed fraudulent business opportunities to consumers that involved false promises of thousands of dollars in income as commission for loans made to small … Continue Reading

Let the Chips Fall Where They May: Frito-Lay Litigates No Artificial Flavors Claim

Last month, a federal judge denied Frito-Lay’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit involving allegations that its “Salt and Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips” contain artificial flavors. Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that Frito Lay: (1) did not specify the type of malic acid on the ingredient panel; and (2) falsely labeled the chips as containing no artificial … Continue Reading

Out of Juice: Judge Denies Class Cert. in Tropicana False Label Suit

In 2011, plaintiffs launched a putative class action with class members from California, New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin in a New Jersey district court against Tropicana Products, Inc., a division of PepsiCo, Inc. over Tropicana’s claim that its not-from-concentrate orange juice is “100% pure and natural.” The plaintiffs asserted that Tropicana’s processing methods—which allegedly … Continue Reading

Nine Lives Indeed: Grumpy Cat Wins IP Lawsuit Against Beverage Company

Anyone who has been on the internet since 2012 likely recognizes the ubiquitous frowning face of “Grumpy Cat,” real name Tardar Sauce, emblazoned upon memes, videos, and products. Her fame and market power is far from restricted to the internet though; since her internet debut, she has appeared on television shows, starred in advertisements for … Continue Reading

Naked Juice Urges California Court to Defer to FDA on Use of “No Sugar Added”

Naked Juice, which is owned by PepsiCo (“Naked”), filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in a pair of class action lawsuits that claim its “No Sugar Added” labels on coconut water and orange juice are misleading and deceptive. Naked’s argument is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) already cleared use of the “No … Continue Reading

Artist Sues Lollapalooza Over Advertising and Festival Merchandise

Last month, Juan Marco filed a copyright infringement suit against Live Nation and the other promoters of the summer music festival, Lollapalooza. According to the complaint, Marco granted a limited license to the concert promoters to use Marco’s artwork for three years and only for use in the United States and Chile.  Marco alleges that … Continue Reading

College Athletes Appeal to Seventh Circuit Against FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ Use of Images

A proposed class of approximately 3,000 former college athletes recently filed an appeal in the Seventh Circuit against FanDuel and DraftKings. The players are reviving their proposed class action, claiming that FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ use of the players’ images on their websites does not fall within the newsworthy or public interest exceptions to Indiana’s right … Continue Reading

District judge in the SDNY: Embedding links to third –party web content is copyright infringement

What is the legal difference between embedding an image on a website and displaying a copy of the image? News organizations and other website publications have relied on the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., which established a bright-line server test for determining whether a website displayed a copy of an … Continue Reading
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