Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission released new business guidance for direct sellers and multilevel marketers describing the legal principles that it will apply when evaluating practices under the FTC Act. Law360 published the article “What The FTC Said About Direct Selling In 2018,” co-authored by partner John Villafranco and senior associate Donnelly McDowell.  The article discusses the FTC guidance along with recent enforcement actions and staff comments, and poses seven questions direct sellers and multilevel marketers should consider as we close out 2018 and look toward the future. To read the article, please click here.

FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny is scheduled to resign effective April 28 and may leave with acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen as the sole commissioner. Law360  published an article by partner John Villafranco and professor Stephen Calkins that discusses whether the FTC can take formal action by a 1-0 vote and when does a commission cease being a commission? To read the full article, please click here.

Connected devices have existed in the marketplace in one form or another for decades (think vending machines or weather sensors). Yet, a confluence of forces in recent years has helped spur a mass proliferation of technology in the “Internet of Things,” and with it, the collection and analytics of big data. Demand is high to connect nearly everything to the Internet — from smart home platforms and connected cars, to wearable devices and even smart yoga mats. Analysts predict that the number of IoT devices will reach between 25 and 200 billion devices by 2020.

For such an ubiquitous topic, the IoT can be surprisingly difficult to describe. At a basic level, the IoT is an ecosystem of physical objects connected to the Internet generally featuring small, embedded sensors relying on wired and wireless technologies that collect and transmit data either passively or actively. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s top consumer protection cop, defines the IoT as “the ability of everyday objects to connect to the Internet and to send and receive data,” that includes both consumer- and nonconsumer-facing devices.[1] As the IoT has continued to grow into new and emerging areas, so too has FTC scrutiny.

In the Law360 article, ‘Smart’ Ways To Avoid FTC Internet Of Things Scrutiny’, partner Alysa Hutnik addresses recent enforcement matters and lessons learned from the FTC’s report, “Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World.” She also provides a list of several key issues to consider when developing and marketing a connected or “smart” device.

To read the full article, please click here. Access may require a subscription.