SW Legal studies in Business

False Advertising Claim Under Lanham Fails for Lack of Basis
Description Appeals court affirmed the dismissal of a suit for false advertising claims under the Lanham Act brought against a firm by a competitor. The competitor had no right of action under a federal statute regulating hazardous substances and also failed to show that words used to describe the product were false and misleading.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Lanham Act; Advertising; False Statements; Federal Standards
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts IQ makes various brands of tire inflators-cans of chemicals under pressure used by motorists to repair leaks in car tires. IQ sued Pennzoil, the maker of a competing brand, Fix-A-Flat, claiming that for five years Pennzoil falsely advertised Fix-A-Flat as "non-explosive" in violation of the Lanham Act. The district court dismissed the suit; IQ appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. For Pennzoil to say its product is "non-explosive" was not shown to be a false statement. The substance "may be flammable-that is, tend to burn-while not being explosive." IQ also contends that Pennzoil violated the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) by not stating on its products that they are "flammable." It is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which investigated a complaint brought by IQ against Pennzoil but refused to take action on the matter. IQ cannot use the FHSA as a way to make a claim that the Lanham Act was violated because the FHSA does not create a private right of action; the decision of the regulatory agencies of assertions of FHSA violations by Pennzoil was dismissed; IQ cannot raise that claim here.

Citation IQ Products Co. v. Pennzoil Products Co., --- F.3d --- (2002 WL 31006169, 5th Cir., 2002)

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