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Pizza Hut, Inc. v. Papa John’s International, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
227 F.3d 489 (2000)


Facts

Pizza Hut (plaintiff) and Papa John’s (defendant) were the largest and third-largest pizza chains in the United States, respectively. Papa John’s adopted and trademarked the slogan “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” and used it extensively in print and broadcast commercials. Pizza Hut countered with its own advertisement campaigns that proclaimed the “better taste” of its own pizza and dared customers to find a “better pizza.” Pizza Hut and Papa John’s both continued to create advertisements that boasted of the superior qualities of their own pizzas and derided the quality of competitors’ pizzas. Pizza Hut filed a Lanham Act false-advertising claim against Papa John’s for its “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” advertisements. A jury held that the slogan amounted to a false or misleading statement of facts and therefore gave rise to an actionable claim. The district court ruled that the slogan alone amounted to mere puffery and was therefore non-actionable, but still held for Pizza Hut on other grounds. Papa John’s appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jolly, J.)

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