Puffery and pizza – you be the judge

Have you seen the new Domino’s commercial, where Domino’s claims that Papa John’s claim of “better ingredients, better pizza” is “pufferey”?  Domino’s even has an attorney (they had to get a guy that looks like a total desk-jockey, instead of a handsome trial stud like me) standing outside a courthouse with the Domino’s chef, reading the definition of puffery.  The insinuation is that Papa John’s lost a court case for using “puffery.”  Not true.
The case was Pizza Hut, Inc., v. Papa John’s International, Inc. , 227 F.3d 489 (5th Cir. 2000), and Papa John’s WON the case.  According to About.com, in 1998, Pizza Hut sued Papa John’s for false advertising.  In a jury trial, Pizza Hut’s lawyers presented scientific evidence “proving Papa John’s ingredients didn’t affect the pizza’s taste.”  The jury agreed, and a judge ordered the Papa to stop using the “better Ingredients, better pizza” slogan, and further awarded Pizza Hut $467,619 in damages.
Papa John’s appealed the ruling and made the “puffery” defense, arguing that it had not violated the Lanham Act because its statement was opinion and not fact.  In 2000, the Fifth Circuit overturned the trial court decision and delivered a piping hot ruling in Papa John’s favor.
So, now you know the truth about the current pizza war.  I like Papa’s, my lovely wife does not . . .  Domino’s has recently admitted that their old recipe was terrible, but I liked it . . . so, there is clearly no accounting for taste.  And, along the lines of “puffery” as an opinion . . .  opinions are like @$holes – everyone has one.  Don’t believe the hype – always judge for yourself.  “Better experience, better lawyer . . . Papa bLAWgger.”

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