POM Wonderful LLC has reportedly brought false advertising and unfair competition claims in federal court against Welch Foods Inc. for marketing a product with little pomegranate juice as a “white grape and pomegranate” juice. POM Wonderful LLC v. Welch Foods Inc., No. 09-00567 (C.D. Cal., filed January 23, 2009). According to a news source, POM Wonderful has built a multimillion-dollar business by making and marketing the health benefits of a pomegranate juice-based product line. The company alleges that Welch has taken advantage of its success by developing an intentionally confusing and misleading product and implying “that its product is of the same composition
and quality of blended pomegranate juices such as plaintiff’s blended pomegranate juices, when in fact Welch’s has substituted much of the
valuable and beneficial substance of pomegranate juice with economically and nutritionally inferior juices such as apple.”

POM Wonderful apparently alleges that Welch has violated the false advertising provisions of the Lanham Act and California Business Code and has engaged in unfair competition. According to its complaint, POM Wonderful has “invested millions of dollars in researching the nutritional qualities and health benefits of pomegranate juice” and “largely created the burgeoning market for genuine pomegranate juice that exists today.” While Welch’s product, introduced in 2007 and marketed as “100 percent juice white grape pomegranate” with a depiction of pomegranates prominent on its label, POM Wonderful claims that “in fact, the primary ingredients are actually white-grape and apple juice.” See Product Liability Law 360, January 27, 2009.

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