Practice Area

False Advertising

More than 30 years of trials and appeals have led to Patterson Belknap's preeminence in the field of advertising law. Our practice is consistently ranked in the top band of firms nationwide by Chambers USA, and was named the 2012 "Advertising Firm of the Year." The publication notes that our team "of incredibly talented individuals" has "vast industry knowledge" and offers "one of the best false advertising practices around." Steven Zalesin, also recognized in Chambers' top band of nationwide litigators, is a "rock-solid and much sought-after" lawyer who is greatly admired by peers and clients alike for his "exceptional courtroom skills and vigilance in protecting the long-term interests of his clients." Our practice is also recognized by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" as one of the top tier firms both nationally and in New York City.

The firm has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in many of the most notable false advertising cases throughout the nation. These include numerous false advertising class actions in which we have successfully defeated class certification. In addition to litigation, we regularly represent clients at the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD), at the major television networks, and before the Federal Trade Commission. We counsel clients on advertising clearance and product labeling review, analysis of claims support and the full range of day-to-day questions that arise in the regular conduct of our clients' business. Christine Miller heads up the Firm’s advertising counseling group and is one of the most experienced and respected NAD practitioners in the country. Her group is available to clients at any time they wish to consult on these important and time-sensitive issues.

Some of the firm's notable achievements include:

  • We represent the world’s leading beverage company in a high-profile dispute over juice labeling. In the district court, we obtained summary judgment dismissing the federal and state-law claims against our client, and obtained an affirmance of the summary judgment ruling on the federal claim in the Ninth Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and we will now proceed to trial on the federal claim. The district court’s ruling that the state-law claims are preempted is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
  • We represent the fastest-growing pet food company in the United States in a closely-watched court battle with a competitor over each company's advertising. We also represent the client in a series of related consumer class actions.
  • We defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by the manufacturer of the world's top-selling sports drink against its chief competitor. The court determined that the plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its false advertising and trademark infringement claims, could not show a risk of irreparable injury, and in any event had asserted claims that were barred by its own unclean hands.
  • We secured a win on behalf of a Fortune 500 chocolate manufacturer in a putative consumer class action regarding the labeling of its dark chocolate and cocoa products. The plaintiffs alleged that our client’s products were “misbranded” because the labels purportedly made false, misleading and unlawful statements regarding the products’ ingredients and characteristics. The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support this claim and dismissed the case.
  • We obtained a preliminary injunction enjoining the leading satellite provider from airing nationally broadcast television commercials. We successfully argued an appeal which led the Second Circuit to redefine several key doctrines in the law of false advertising.
  • We successfully defended a cable systems operator against TRO seeking to enjoin client’s national advertising campaign.
  • We represented a major internet service provider in federal litigation regarding internet speed claims, resulting in successful resolution. We are now representing the client in claims regarding Wi-Fi speed and related issues.
  • We concluded the successful representation of a medical device company, the defendant/counterclaim-plaintiff in a false advertising case involving two major competitors in the market for surgical devices. In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, both parties alleged violations of the Lanham Act and of California state law.
  • We represented the maker of the leading no-calorie sweetener in a series of false advertising cases and in a high-stakes trade dress infringement action:
    • In the false advertising cases, the plaintiff alleged that our client's advertising claims were false and misleading and that its no-calorie sweetener is not a "healthy" product. After obtaining a ruling excluding our adversary's key piece of evidence, the parties reached a mutually-agreeable settlement.
    • In the high-stakes trade dress infringement action, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit entered a decision in our client's favor partially reversing the District Court's denial of a preliminary injunction against the sale of "knock-off" products that are confusingly similar in appearance to our client's product. After the District Court granted our client's renewed motion for preliminary injunction, the parties reached a mutually-agreeable settlement.
  • We regularly represent the manufacturer of the leading non-prescription pain reliever in false advertising disputes with competitors. Over the years we have successfully prosecuted and defended numerous trials and appeals, including what was described by the court as "the largest and most complex false advertising case ever tried."
  • We regularly represent several of the nation's leading consumer products companies in litigation concerning advertising claims for various household products such as laundry detergents, plastic storage bags, cleaning solvents, water filters and pest control products.