Having now turned the page to the back half of 2018, we took a look at how the FTC’s “Made in USA” enforcement is stacking up to prior years. As we previously posted, the FTC made known its intent to prioritize “Made in USA” enforcement in remarks delivered at last fall’s NAD Conference.  Year to date, the FTC has settled two cases (Bollman Hat Company and Nectar Brand LLC) and has issued 15 closing letters regarding “Made in USA” claims.

By comparison, there were two settlements and 22 closing letters in 2017. If the current pace continues, the number of closing letters may exceed prior years.

What can we learn from these cases?

  • Qualified Claims Must Still Be Substantiated: Most closing letters involve unqualified “Made in USA” claims. However, qualified claims and those involving terms open to interpretation can still be the subject of scrutiny and must still be properly substantiated. Nectar Brands allegedly claimed in promotional materials that its mattresses were “Designed and Assembled in USA,” but the FTC’s complaint alleges that the mattresses were wholly imported from China, with no assembly taking place in the United States. “Crafted in America” was also among the claims that saw enforcement as was “Built in USA.”
  • Watch For Disclosure Issues: In addition to labeling wholly imported products as “Made in USA,” the FTC alleged that Bollman Hat Company and its subsidiary licensed the “American Made Matters” seal to any company that claimed it had a United States-based manufacturing factory or one product with a U.S.-origin label, and met several membership requirements, including self-certifying that at least 50% of the cost of at least one of their products was incurred in the United States, with final assembly or transformation in the U.S., and payment of an annual licensing fee of $99. The settlement requires the respondents to engage an independent auditor regarding use of the seal or to clearly and conspicuously disclose that products and services may display the seal based on self-certification.


Continue Reading Ever Wondered What Pillows, Electric Bikes, and Neon Signs Have in Common? FTC’s “Made in USA” Enforcement On Pace With 2017

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

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a reading this week of the proposed S. 118 Reinforcing American-Made Products Act of 2017.   The bill proposes to amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to require the Federal Trade Commission’s regulation of the labeling of products as “Made

A recent decision the by the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) has important implications for importers, government contractors, and manufacturers that make “Assembled in America” and similar claims. In a ruling against Energizer Battery, Inc., the CIT determined that domestic assembly of foreign component parts does not fulfill the Buy America requirements found

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Massachusetts-based New Balance has long made “Made in the USA” a cornerstone claim for their athletic wear.  The graphic below, from the company’s website, explains exactly what New Balance means by “Made in the USA” – but recently, the company has taken further steps to make clear the importance of this claim to their brand.

This week, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Chemence, Inc., alleging that the company is misleading consumers by claiming that many of their glues are made in the USA.

In order for a company to make an unqualified “Made in USA” claim, a product must be “all or virtually all” made in this country. Although

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB633 into legislation allowing manufacturers to carry the label “Made in America”, even if their products were not entirely made in the United States. This is similar to the federal standard used in the 49 other states. Specifically, SB633 stipulates that a “Made in USA” claim may be used

This past Monday, October 21, the FTC issued a press release announcing a settlement that the agency reached with Utah-based E.K. Ekcessories, which resolved allegations that E.K. Ekcessories falsely advertised that iPhone accessories, bottle holders, lens cleaners, dog collars, leashes, and other products were “Made in the USA” or “Truly Made in the USA” when,