Category Archives: Federal Trade Commission

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Senate Commerce Committee Holds Confirmation Hearings on FTC Chair and Commissioner Nominees

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held confirmation hearings yesterday for the four nominees to the Federal Trade Commission: Joseph Simons (nominated as Chair), Rohit Chopra, Noah Phillips, and Christine Wilson.  We previously discussed the nominations of Simons, Chopra, and Phillips here.   Wilson, currently a Senior Vice President at Delta Airlines and previously Chief … Continue Reading

FDA & FTC Issue Joint Warning Letters to Companies Marketing Products to Overcome Opioid Addiction and Withdrawal

The FDA & FTC today posted warning letters to 11 marketers and distributors of opioid cessation products, alleging that such products were unapproved new drugs that violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and that made unsubstantiated, deceptive claims in violation of the FTC Act.  In addition to the 11 joint warning letters … Continue Reading

2017 Recap

Most Popular Ad Law Access Posts of 2017 As reported in our Ad Law News and Views newsletter, Kelley Drye’s Advertising Law practice posted 106 updates on consumer protection trends, issues, and developments to this blog in 2017. Here are some of the most popular: New Lawsuit Highlights Risks of Using User-Generated Content FTC Announces $1.3 … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Business Guidance on Multi-Level Marketing, Memorializing Principles from Prior Settlements on Hot Button Issues

The FTC released today Business Guidance Concerning Multi-Level Marketing, which offers answers to frequently asked questions to assist multi-level marketers in evaluating their business practices for compliance with the FTC Act.  The Guidance begins by restating the general standard for pyramid schemes set forth in the FTC’s 1975 Koscot decision and then goes on to … Continue Reading

On the Eve of the FCC’s Reclassification of Broadband Services, the FCC and FTC Release Memorandum of Understanding for Oversight of Broadband

On December 11, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will allocate oversight and enforcement authority related to broadband Internet access service (BIAS) between the two agencies.  The new MOU was announced three days before the FCC’s scheduled vote to reclassify BIAS as … Continue Reading

FTC Announces $1.3 Million Settlement in Negative Option Case

Last week, the FTC announced that an online lingerie company had agreed to return more than $1.3 million to customers who enrolled in a negative-option membership program offering discounts and other benefits. Under Adore Me’s VIP program, a member would be charged $39.95 per month, unless the member either purchased apparel or pressed a “skip” … Continue Reading

Investing Under the Influence? SEC Issues Warning Letters to Celebrities and Social Influencers

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a warning to celebrities and social influencers who use social media to encourage consumers to invest and/or purchase stocks. Recent celebrity endorsements for investment in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were highlighted as examples in the SEC’s warning. In the future, if celebrities and social influencers … Continue Reading

KDW Ad Law Presents “Advertising Under The Influence: Rules of the Road For Your Company’s Next Influencer Campaign” via Webinar on Thursday, November 9, at Noon Eastern

Social media influencers help drive consumer engagement with the brands they love. Better reviews, more “likes,” and thousands of re-tweets can all add up to a bigger bottom line and greater insight into what sells and what doesn’t. When the line between advertising and objective content isn’t made clear, though, it can also prompt legal … Continue Reading

House Antitrust Subcommittee Explores the Role of Antitrust Law in Net Neutrality

On November 1, 2017 the House Antitrust Law Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the role of federal agencies in preserving an open Internet. The core question discussed at the hearing was whether current antitrust law is sufficient to ensure net neutrality absent FCC rules. The panelists—including FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Commissioner Terrell … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Enforcement Policy on Collection and Use of Voice Recordings of Children Under COPPA

On Monday, the FTC issued an Enforcement Policy Statement stating that the Commission will not take action against operators that collect an audio file of a child’s voice as a replacement for written words, such as for translation into text, without first obtaining parental consent, provided the file is retained only for the brief time … Continue Reading

Trump To Nominate Competition-Focused Simons for FTC Chair, CP-Focused Chopra for Commissioner; Reports of Phillips for Additional Seat

After months of speculation among the consumer protection and antitrust bars, Trump announced today his intention to nominate former Director of the Bureau of Competition and current Paul Weiss partner Joseph Simons as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.  Trump also announced his plan to nominate Rohit Chopra, currently a senior fellow at the Consumer … Continue Reading

FTC’s “Made in USA” Enforcement On Pace With Prior Years

In a keynote address at the National Advertising Division conference earlier this month, Mary Engle, Associate Director in the Advertising Practices Division of the FTC, included “Made in USA” as among the agency’s current enforcement priorities.   The FTC’s interest in U.S. origin claims is nothing new, but these claims have garnered considerable regulatory attention in … Continue Reading

Moonlight Slumber Says “Goodnight” to Misleading and Unsubstantiated “Organic” Advertising Claims After Settlement with FTC

In its first case challenging “organic” claims, the FTC announced a settlement with Moonlight Slumber, LLC  resolving charges that the company misrepresented or could not support a variety of environmental and health-related claims about its baby mattresses. Misleading and Unsubstantiated Claims. The FTC’s complaint asserts that Moonlight advertised its baby mattresses as “organic,” “natural,” “hypoallergenic,” … Continue Reading

What Does Tweeeeeting Mean for Advertisers?

This week, the news broke that tweets are likely getting longer.  Twitter plans to extend the maximum length of a tweet from 140 to 280 characters, and has already rolled this feature out to selected users.  What are the implications for advertisers, especially those struggling to cope with the need to disclose material connections to … Continue Reading

FTC Takes Action Against Social Media Influencers

This morning, the FTC announced that it had reached a settlement in its first-ever complaint against individual social media influencers and that it had sent warning letters to other prominent influencers. In addition, the FTC announced that it had updated previous guidance on influencer campaigns. Settlement The settlement involves Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell, owners … Continue Reading

“Free Speech in the Fog of Scientific Uncertainty” by Professor Jane Bambauer

In the following article authored by University of Arizona Law Professor Jane Bambauer, the professor makes a compelling argument that FTC/FDA regulation of health claims should focus on situations  where the government has compelling evidence of actual harm.   Professor Bambauer offers an opinion that high standards for health benefit claims can effectively silence commercial speech … Continue Reading

Will the FTC’s Deception Evidence Fall Short? Court to Rule in DirecTV Case

U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. said Friday that the court would pause the trial to consider whether the FTC presented sufficient evidence to support its allegations that DirecTV misled consumers by failing to adequately disclose the terms of its two-year subscription and introductory pricing offer.  The judge instructed attorneys for DirecTV to file … Continue Reading

DirecTV and FTC Face Off in Federal Court Over Deceptive Pricing Claims; FTC Seeking $4 Billion in Equitable Relief

A bench trial began this week to resolve allegations by the FTC that DirecTV misled millions of consumers about the actual costs of its subscriptions.  According to the FTC, DirecTV should be required to pay $3.95 billion dollars to compensate consumers for failing to disclose that it would raise its monthly subscription price after a … Continue Reading

Consumer Groups Push for More Regulation of Influencers

In November, we posted that four consumer groups had sent letters to FTC, encouraging the agency to investigate and bring enforcement actions regarding the use of influencers on Instagram. In April, the FTC responded by sending more than 90 letters to companies and influencers, reminding the recipients of their legal obligations. Now, the consumer groups … Continue Reading

FTC Settles With Lead Generation Firm For Illegally Selling Consumer Data, False Data Security Promises

The FTC announced last week a settlement with Blue Global Media, LLC  and its CEO Christopher Kay.  The company operated 38 Internet domains that solicited online loan applications from consumers.  The applications collected extensive sensitive personal information, including social security numbers, bank routing numbers, credit scores, and incomes. The company represented to consumers it would … Continue Reading

Summer Road Trippin’: The FTC and NHTSA Workshop on Connected Cars

On June 28, the FTC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) brought together a variety of stakeholders including regulators, automakers, software companies, and consumer groups to discuss connected cars, including current innovations and challenges in the field of data privacy. Acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen opened the day by asserting that regulators will need … Continue Reading

Rules Are Made to Be ….Reformed: FTC Announces Regulatory Reform Measures

As part of the FTC’s ongoing review of the needs, costs, and benefits of regulations, the agency recently announced it is reviewing the following rules: The Picture Tube Rule requires manufacturers to base screen size measurements on the horizontal measure of the viewable area, unless the alternative method of measurement is clearly disclosed. This rule … Continue Reading

FTC Submits Comments on IoT Device Security to NTIA Working Group

On Monday, the FTC submitted comments to the draft National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) guidance intended to improve Internet of Things (IoT) device security and increase consumer transparency. While recognizing the benefits (and proliferation) of IoT devices, the Commission’s comments caution that such benefits can only be realized when device manufacturers both incorporate – … Continue Reading
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