A New Test to Determine Standing in False Advertising Claims

The Supreme Court has articulated new guidance for evaluating standing in false advertising claims brought under the Lanham Act Section 43(a), 15 U.S.C. §1125(a).  In a March 25, 2014 unanimous decision, Lexmark Int’l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court declined to adopt the multifactor balancing test of Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519 (1983) or the direct-competitor test applied by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in its review of the district court decision.  Instead, the Court adopted a new test that examines (1) whether plaintiff’s interests fall into the “zone of interests” contemplated by the statute and (2) whether plaintiff’s alleged economic or reputational injury was proximately caused by the deception wrought by defendant’s advertising.