Tag Archives: FTC

Environmental False Advertising: An Earth Day Green Guide Review

Earth Day is coming up on April 22, which means that a lot of consumers are going to be reminded to think green, and to buy green. What if your company is looking to access this vast market of environmentally-minded shoppers, but your product or service isn’t really that environmentally conscious? Can you just go ahead and label yourself “Green” anyway?  Who’s gonna notice?

Well,… More

Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order Against Invention Patenting and Promotion Company for Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices

There are many businesses focused on helping inventors develop and monetize their ideas.  There are companies that, for instance, help people seek patents on their inventions, license their inventions, turn their ideas into tangible products, and promote those products.  World Patent Marketing in Florida bills itself as one of those companies.  But according to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission this month,… More

Are Your Consumer Contracts Being Invalidated By The Consumer Review Fairness Act?

On March 14, 2017, the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) will officially invalidate a whole bunch of consumer contract clauses that pertain to online reviews.

During the last decade, we started hearing reports about professionals using form contracts to prevent their clients or patients from publishing negative online reviews. Here’s an example of how it worked: You showed up for a dentist appointment and,… More

Hot News, Shredded Wheat and Wool Underwear: Brandeis On Copyright And Trademark

brandeisOctober 9 marks the 100th anniversary of Louis Brandeis’ first session as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (October 9, 1916 was the second Monday in October – in 1917, the Court began meeting on the first Monday).  This occasion is worthy of remembrance not only because of the historical importance of the man himself, but also because Brandeis was the first Jewish jurist (or non-Christian of any creed) to ascend to the high court,… More

Advertising Through Social Media: Ten Tips For FTC & NAD Compliance

social-media

This post first appeared in Law360 as “10 Considerations When Advertising On Social Media,” published on September 21, 2016.

Most modern advertising campaigns include social media components. In fact, it is not uncommon today to see products advertised exclusively on social media. For the most part, the same rules that govern traditional advertising also govern commercial speech on social media.… More

I May Not Be Able To Pronounce Acai But I Know It Doesn’t Burn Fat Cells: 5 Recent Over-the-Top Weight Loss Advertising Claims And How The Federal Trade Commission Responded

acaiSome say “ah-sigh;” I say “ah-kai;” but apparently the proper pronunciation of “acai”  — the so-called super berry  — is actually “ah-sigh-ee.”  Who knew?  Acai berries are native to the Amazon rainforest and have been hailed by marketers as offering a slew of health benefits, including massive weight loss.    Unfortunately, according to various consumer advocacy groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest,… More

Brainstorm: FTC Continues Enforcement Trend Against Cognitive Function Claims

LearningRXContinuing its trend of scrutinizing claims touting improved cognitive function, the Federal Trade Commission recently announced a settlement with LearningRx Franchise Corp. (“LFC”), the developer and franchisor of a chain of “LearningRx centers” providing one-on-one cognitive training to consumers.  The FTC’s settlement with LFC comes in the wake of several other high-profile FTC actions involving cognition claims, including a $2 million settlement with Lumos Labs,… More

First Circuit Affirms FTC Social Media Order: Jerk.com Users Jerked Around By Material Misrepresentations

JerkIn Fanning v. Federal Trade Commission, the First Circuit affirmed a summary decision of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which found that Jerk LLC, the operator of Jerk.com, materially misrepresented both the source of its content and the nature of its membership benefits, in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. However, the Court also curtailed certain monitoring provisions ordered by the FTC,… More

INTA.sucks: Brand Prophylaxis or Trademark “Protection” Racket?

CaptureI’m back from the International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meeting in beautiful (if a bit cloudy and windy) San Diego, which featured the usual array of client meetings, networking with counsel from around the world, and seeing the sights.  The convention center area, the USS Midway, and the street of the Gas Lamp Quarter were temporarily overrun with the nearly 10,000 trademark (with a smattering of patent) professionals proudly displaying their INTA badges and ribbons.… More

Milk Dud? False Advertising Lawsuit Against Makers of Muscle Milk Illustrates Interplay Between Lanham Act, FTC and FDA

MM1In a lawsuit recently filed in the Southern District of Florida, Global Beverage Enterprises, Inc. (“Global”), the manufacturer of specialty carbonated beverages like Mr. Q. Cumber Sparkling Cucumber Beverage, brought Lanham Act claims against CytoSport, Inc., alleging false advertising of CytoSport’s popular Muscle Milk line of beverages.  The basis of the claim is that the Muscle Milk beverages contain no milk and, therefore, the product name is false and misleading. … More

Dot Com Disclosures 2.0: FTC Updates Online Disclosure Guidelines to Address Changes in Digital Advertising

Nearly thirteen years after issuing guidelines governing online advertising, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently updated its so-called Dot Com Disclosures to take account of the many changes to the online world that have occurred over those intervening years.  Whereas most digital advertising thirteen years ago was popping up or scrolling across our computer screens, today’s digital advertising is far more integrated into our online culture—whether as email offers to invitation-only flash sales (“50% off;… More

“Raw” Row: NAD Declines Recommending Discontinuance of IN THE RAW Product Claim for Stevia Sweetener

Cargill Health & Nutrition, the maker of TRUVIA sweeteners, recently brought a false advertising challenge against its competitor Cumberland Packing Corp. over Cumberland’s use of the product name STEVIA IN THE RAW.  See Cumberland Packing Corp., NAD Case Report No. 5525 (November 29, 2012).  Cargill brought the challenge before the National Advertising Division, a self-regulatory program administered by the Better Business Bureau. … More

FTC Set to Adopt New Rules to Speed Up Investigations, But Will They Work?

ftcseal

The Federal Trade Commission recently finalized changes to its investigative procedures. The changes are intended to streamline a process that has, in recent years, become increasingly lengthy and unwieldy. The driving force behind the changes, which will become effective November 9, 2012, is the ever-increasing pace of technology, in particular its effect on the amount of electronic data that a respondent must comb through when it finds itself the target of a Commission investigation.… More

Lanham Act Dust Up Over Vacuum Cleaner Claims Clarifies Literally False Standard

A federal district court in Massachusetts was recently sucked into a false advertising dispute between manufacturers of competing vacuums and steam cleaners over alleged violations of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. The plaintiff, Euro-Pro Operating LLC (“Euro-Pro”), which manufactures the popular “Shark” steam mop and “Shark Navigator” vacuum, filed suit against the defendant, TTI Floor Care North America (“TTI”), alleging false advertising and unfair competition in connection with certain superiority claims made in infomercials for TTI’s “TwinTank” steam mop and “WindTunnel” vacuum cleaner.… More