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Supreme Court Settles Circuit Split on Lanham Act False Advertising Standing

Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act provides that a plaintiff may assert a cause of action for false advertising if he or she “believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.” Despite this guiding language, circuit courts have employed a wide range of tests with differing standards to determine standing in false advertising cases, resulting in inconsistent outcomes. On March 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved the split among the circuits, holding that a false advertising cause of action under the Lanham Act extends to plaintiffs who fall within the “zone of interests” protected by that statute and whose injury was proximately caused by a violation of that statute.