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'Better Pizza?' Better Remove Slogan, Judge Tells Papa John's
By David Koenig   Associated Press
DALLAS — Papa John's must remove its "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza" slogan from storefronts and pizza boxes after a jury decided the pitch was false advertising.

The judge in the case also ordered Papa John's to pay $468,000 in damages to Pizza Hut, which filed the lawsuit claiming the slogan and advertising campaign unfairly maligned its product. In November, a jury ruled in Pizza Hut's favor.

In his ruling on Monday, Federal Magistrate William F. Sanderson Jr. ordered Louisville-based Papa John's International Inc. to stop using its slogan in ads by Jan. 24, to stop using pizza boxes and other printed material with the phrase by March 3 and remove it from restaurant signs by April 3.

He further forbade Papa John's from ever using the word "better" to describe its pizza, and he barred the company from even comparing its pizza to that of Pizza Hut in future ads.

"This is a landmark victory for consumers and Pizza Hut," said Jonathan Blum, a vice president and spokesman for Dallas-based Pizza Hut's parent company, Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. of Louisville, Ky.

Papa John's will ask Sanderson to delay his order while it appeals the jury verdict, a spokeswoman said.

"This isn't going to change anything we're about," said Papa John's spokeswoman Karen Sherman. "People buy our pizza because of the pizza, not the slogan."

Papa John's spent $300 million on promotions that used the slogan since 1995. Ms. Sherman said the company does not know how much it would cost to remove it.

During the trial, Papa John's officials and attorneys argued that the "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza" slogan was merely puffery — harmless boasting that consumers expect in commercials.

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