Supreme Court appears likely to back Pom Wonderful in juice label dispute with Coke

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court seems likely to rule that juice maker Pom Wonderful can bring false advertising claims against the Coca-Cola Co. over a competing juice product.

Several justices indicated during argument at the high court Monday that allowing Pom's lawsuit to go forward under federal trademark laws would not interfere with government regulation of food labels.

Pom alleges the label on a "Pomegranate Blueberry" beverage offered by Coke's Minute Maid unit is misleading because 99 per cent of the drink consists of apple and grape juice. Coke claims the lawsuit should be thrown out because the label complies with Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Lower courts had ruled in favour of Coke. The food and beverage industry is concerned that a ruling for Pom could subject food makers to more litigation.