Chobani has filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that its advertisements claiming competitor Dannon’s yogurt contains chlorine are not false or misleading, prompting Dannon to file a counterclaim seeking a preliminary injunction. Chobani v. The Dannon Co., Inc., No. 16-0030 (N.D.N.Y., complaint filed January 8, 2016, counterclaim filed January 11, 2016).
Chobani’s complaint details its campaign, launched January 6, 2016, that asserts “Dannon’s Light & Fit Greek Yogurt contains sucralose, an artificial sweetener processed with added chlorine.” The company seeks a declaration that its claims are not false, misleading, disparaging or deceptive under the Lanham Act or New York state law.
Dannon’s response argues that the ad campaign “has been misinforming consumers about the health and safety of Dannon’s products while exaggerating the relative health benefits of its own product.” The counterclaim defends sucralose and its use, arguing that it “is not ‘bad’ or harmful.” Further, “Chobani’s campaign falsely states that Dannon Light & Fit® Greek has ‘chlorine added to it,’ which, combined with prominent image of a swimming pool conveys the false message literally and by necessary implication that Dannon Light & Fit® Greek contains the type of ‘chlorine’ used to clean swimming pools.’” The claim distinguishes between calcium hypochlorite, the substance used to clean pools, and chloride, the element in sucralose.