California Court Dismisses UCL Claim Over Fiji Water

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Sometimes a green drop is just a green drop.

Last week, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, dismissed a purported class action against the owners of Fiji Water, finding as a matter of law that the company’s use of a green drop on its bottle, along with a slogan “Every Drop is green,” would not mislead a reasonable consumer. The case, Hill v. Roll International Corporation, is the most recent decision to disallow the use of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code section 17200 et seq. (“UCL”), to restrict the marketing of a product that fails to contain any misleading symbol, slogan or message.

At issue in the case was Fiji Water’s labeling for its bottled water and specifically the use of a green drop on the front of the product, which the plaintiff contended “looks similar to environmental ‘seals of approval’ . . . by several independent, third–party organizations.” The plaintiff asserted that the use of the green drop connotes approval by such third-party organizations and that the green drop is “deceptive because it conveys that the products is environmentally sound and superior to other bottled waters that do not contain the Green Drop.”

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