Splenda and NutraSweet Headed to Trial

Federal judge Gene E.K. Pratter, in a lengthy opinion, recently denied a summary judgment motion filed by McNeil Nutritionals, the manufacturer of Splenda in a case filed against McNeil by Merisant, Inc. the manufacturer of NutraSweet. Pratter’s ruling clears the way for a trial of Merisant’s Lanham Act claims against McNeil, in which Merisant alleges that McNeil’s advertising campaign touting Splenda with the line “made from sugar, so it tasets like sugar” is unlawfully misleading. McNeil faces the possibility of having to disgorge profits from Splenda sales is it is found liable. My guess is the case will settle. If it doesn’t, judging from the article linked above, the trial would shape up as a battle of legal heavyweights (disclosure: I worked for Drinker Biddle, one of the firm’s representing McNeil, very early in my career).


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