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Category: Injunctions

Seventh Circuit Rejects Court Intervention In Light Beer Ad Wars: Is A New Trend Brewing In False Advertising Law?

The last few years have seen a pitched battle for market share among the manufacturers of America’s leading “light” beers—a battle that’s been waged not only in America’s bars and on the airwaves, but in the courtroom. Earlier this month, in Molson Coors v. Anheuser-Busch, Nos. 19-2200, 19-2713, 19-2782, 19-3097 & 19-3116, 2020 WL 2097557 (7th Cir. May 1, 2020), the Seventh Circuit gave Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light, a major victory in that battle, wiping out an injunction that the district court had entered in favor of Molson Coors, the maker of Miller Lite and Coors Light. That’s newsworthy in itself—but, because of its novel reasoning, the Molson Coors ruling may have broader significance for false-advertising law.

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Eighth Circuit Serves Another Round of First Amendment Protection for Alcohol Advertising

Food and beverage advertising, like other forms of speech, is usually entitled to First Amendment protection – even if it may not always enjoy the same caliber of protection as, for example, journalism or political speech.  See, e.g., Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., 564 U.S. 552, 557 (2011) (“Speech in aid of pharmaceutical marketing . . . is a form of expression protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”)

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Court Hops Up Injunction, Enjoining Bud Light Packaging

In the latest development in the Lanham Act litigation between beer titans MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, the district court issued an order enjoining Bud Light from using the “No Corn Syrup” language and icon on product packaging, expanding the existing injunction covering the same claims in print and television advertisements.  MillerCoors v. Anheuser-Busch Cos. (MillerCoors II), No. 19-cv-218-wmc, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149954 (W.D. Wis. Sept. 4, 2019).  However, the court permitted Anheuser-Busch to exhaust its existing supply of packaging with the enjoined image and language (assuming it can be done in 270 days, which Anheuser-Busch has signaled it will).  The decision offers an interesting analysis of implied comparative claims and how the defendant’s replacement costs may impact the “irreparable harm” inquiry at the preliminary injunction stage.

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Court Partially Bars Advertisements Depicting Corn Syrup in Beer

A recent decision, MillerCoors v. Anheuser-Busch Cos., LLC, No. 19-cv-218-wmc, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88259 (W.D. Wis. May 24, 2019), denied and granted in part a preliminary injunction enjoining a series of advertisements and commercials depicting corn syrup in MillerCoors’s beer.

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Lanham Act Dispute Brewing over Corn Syrup in Beer

While the New England Patriots were besting the Rams in the 2019 Super Bowl, Anheuser-Busch tried to get the upper hand on MillerCoors in a series of ads highlighting the “use of” corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light. 

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Consumers Who Seek Injunctive Relief: The Limited Scope of Davidson v. Kimberly-Clark

In consumer cases alleging product mislabeling, one frequently litigated question is whether the plaintiff has standing to seek an injunction of the labeling practice that he or she claims is misleading.  Over the past decade, consumer protection defendants have often won on this issue by demonstrating that the plaintiff is at no risk of future injury.   But last year, in Davidson v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 889 F.3d 956 (9th Cir. 2018), the Ninth Circuit made this issue tougher for defendants, adopting an exceptionally broad view of plaintiffs’ standing to seek injunctive relief in mislabeling cases.  Below, we discuss the aberrant holding in Davidson, and how Ninth Circuit defendants may still be able to distinguish its facts to defeat a claim for injunctive relief.

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