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A federal court in New York has decided to allow most parts of a new state bottle-deposit law to take effect, lifting a injunction that would have delayed implementation until April 2010. Int’l Bottled Water Ass’n v. Paterson, No. 09-4672 (S.D.N.Y., decided August 13, 2009). Additional details about the litigation challenging the law’s constitutionality appear in issue 305 of this Update. The court’s decision overturns an order entered in late May 2009 granting injunctive relief. According to a news source, the ruling means that soft drink and beer makers must now give the state 80 percent of the unclaimed 5-cent deposits, and store and redemption handling fees will increase from 2 cents to 3.5 cents per container. Water companies making products containing flavored water, vitamin water and artificial sweeteners have apparently been given until October 22 to comply with the law, unless they can prove compliance is impossible. They did…

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the availability of draft guidance titled “Guidance for Industry: Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration [FDA].” The agencies have issued the document “in light of the recent ruling by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) (formerly The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)) clarifying that certain beers do not meet the definition of a ‘malt beverage’ under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act).” According to HHS, beers that do not fall under FAA Act jurisdiction “are subject to the labeling provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).” The draft guidance also “reminds manufacturers that the labeling of wine beverages containing less than 7 percent alcohol by volume, such as wine coolers, diluted wine…

Responding to questions referred to it by an Italian court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has determined that (i) the term “Bavaria,” when used in conjunction with beer, is not a generic term, but rather is a protected geographical indication (PGI) recognized in valid proceedings by the European Commission in 2001; and (ii) beer makers outside the German region, using this designation for their products, may do so if they can prove their trademarks were registered in good faith before 2001 and will not likely confuse consumers as to product identity, “having regard to that mark’s reputation, renown and the length of time for which it has been used.”  Bavaria NV v. Bayerischer Brauerbund eV, No. C-343/07 (decided July 2, 2009). German brewers have apparently been challenging Dutch brewer Bavaria NV in courts throughout the continent, including in Italy where the case has been returned for the Dutch brewer to prove that…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has criticized the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) policy on alcohol marketing during sanctioned events, claiming that beer was the “second most-advertised product” in the Final Four basketball tournament. CSPI allegedly found that beer promotions constituted 12 percent of all advertisements during the Final Four, but only 6 percent of those featured during the Bowl Championship Series, where “beer was the seventh most-advertised product.” The consumer watchdog has purportedly sent a letter to NCAA President Myles Brands, reiterating its long-standing request for NCAA to prohibit all alcohol advertising during its games. In addition, CSPI noted that hundreds of college presidents, athletic directors and coaches last year petitioned the association to further restrict its alcohol marketing policies. “The NCAA lags far behind other organizations when it comes to protecting its young audience from beer ads,” stated CSPI’s George Hacker. See CSPI Press…

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