Interactive Counsel

Arent Fox's interactive media law blog - latest news and trends in advertising, data security & privacy, and IP.

Interactive Counsel

Thorne Maginnis

Thorne Maginnis
Washington, DC

Thorne Maginnis practices in the areas of intellectual property, advertising and marketing, and cybersecurity and data protection. He works with clients in a variety of industries, including media and entertainment, fashion, and technology.

Thorne has broad intellectual property experience, with a focus on trademark and copyright portfolio management, disputes, and counseling. He has extensive experience policing and resolving intellectual property matters on social media sites and elsewhere on the Internet.

Thorne’s advertising and marketing practice involves counseling clients on advertising and consumer protection laws, including the federal Lanham Act, Federal Trade Commission regulations, and state unfair competition laws. In his cybersecurity and data protection practice, Thorne advises clients on domestic and international rules surrounding data collection, use, and transfer, as well as the development of online privacy policies and other privacy-related corporate documents.

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Blog Posts by Thorne Maginnis

FTC Obtains Court Order Banning Marketer from Negative-Option Sales

The Federal Trade Commission recently reached a settlement agreement over charges against an online marketing operation accused of deceptively luring consumers into expensive subscriptions by offering “free trials” of teeth-whiteners and related products. According to FTC, the defendants obtained consumers’ billing information under the pretense of a nominal fee before unexpectedly charging them up to $200 per month. The order imposes a judgment of over $92 million on the defendants and bans them from engaging in negative option sales in the future.

Negative option marketing refers to the practice of billing a consumer on a periodic, recurring basis for a product or service until the consumer affirmatively opts out of the subscription. While negative option marketing is legal when conducted appropriately, regulators are willing to pursue companies that abuse this practice.

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Product Placement & Distribution, Advertising
FTC Fires Warning Shot Over Misleading Instagram Posts

What’s New?

The Federal Trade Commission recently sent more than 90 letters to celebrities, athletes, and other influencers reminding them that brand endorsements made in social media posts must comply with the FTC’s Endorsement Guides. The letters reminded social media influencers – individuals or groups recruited to promote a brand’s products or services – that social media endorsements must clearly and conspicuously disclose “material connections” between the influencer and the brand, and focused on the need to disclose such connection in Instagram posts.

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Advertising, Promotions, Sweepstakes & Contests
Walgreens Settles Pricing Dispute After New York’s Years Long Investigation

What’s the News?

Walgreens recently settled with the state of New York over allegations that the drug retail chain misled consumers with its pricing, including value and clearance prices. According to the New York attorney general’s office, an undercover investigation showed that Walgreens was overcharging customers compared to the prices displayed in print advertising and on-shelf tags. Walgreens agreed to pay $500,000 to settle the dispute and has agreed to review and correct the allegedly misleading pricing practices. This should serve as a reminder to retailers in all industries of the need to exercise care in product pricing, as this area has become a common target for regulators and the plaintiff’s bar.

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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.