Yesterday, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, and two state attorneys general representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia held a press conference to announce a significant enforcement action against AT&T Mobility for unlawfully billing customers for unauthorized third-party charges, also known as “cramming.”
Arent Fox advises on all aspects of advertising and trade regulation law. We counsel businesses on how to avoid and respond to investigations by federal and state government agencies for alleged false advertising, unfair sales, and marketing practices. We litigate false advertising and unfair competition claims between competitors in court and in the industry’s self-regulatory proceedings.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced changes to the “Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise” Rule (a.k.a., the Mail Order Rule) aimed at updating the Rule for the 21st century and easing the costs of compliance. The Rule also got a new name and will now be known as the “Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise” Rule. The changes will take effect on December 8, 2014.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on September 23, 2014 that it recently completed a nationwide advertising review that resulted in warning letters to more than 60 advertisers. The review, termed “Operation Full Disclosure” by the FTC, targeted companies that failed to make proper disclosures in their television and print advertisements. In particular, the FTC sought out ads where important information needed to prevent consumers from being mislead was either contained in the fine print or otherwise hard to locate.
What’s the News?
Thanks to a recently announced change to Facebook’s “Platform Policy,” it will soon become more difficult for companies to get consumers to “like” their Facebook page as part of a promotional campaign. The change will take effect on November 5, 2014.
On September 15, 2014, Arent Fox was in attendance at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public workshop on so-called “Big Data” that was designed to explore how its use is impacting American consumers. Although no new regulatory initiatives were announced at the workshop, panelists and speakers repeatedly expressed concern that the growing use of Big Data could lead companies to discriminate against economically disadvantaged consumers.
What’s Making News?
After a spate of high-profile data security breaches, many legislators, businesses, and consumers are asking what can be done to prevent such security lapses and who should be held responsible. The increased attention to data security has led to a flurry of recent activity in state legislatures and in Washington.
What Made News?
A group of merchants and restaurants, including Netflix Inc., California Pizza Kitchen Inc., and Ralph Lauren Corp., are fighting back in federal court against a Delaware lawsuit alleging that they have been withholding unclaimed gift card balances that are due to the state.
As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regular rule and guidelines review process, it recently reviewed the rule governing the “Use of Prenotification Negative Option Plans” (Negative Option Rule). Under a “prenotification negative option” plan, consumers receive periodic announcements of upcoming merchandise shipments and have a set period of time to decline the shipment. If the consumer fails to decline the shipment, the company ships the merchandise and bills the consumer.
Yesterday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) cancelled six registrations related to the Washington Redskins professional football team. The TTAB found the marks violated Section 2(a) of the Federal Lanham Act, which bars registration of trademarks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.
In an 8-0 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled last week that a private party may bring a Lanham Act claim challenging a food label regulated by the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The case originated when POM Wonderful LLC (POM), the makers of POM pomegranate juice drink, sued Coca-Cola Company in 2008, alleging that Coca-Cola had misleadingly labeled as “pomegranate-blueberry blended juice” a product that is more than 99 percent apple and grape juice, violating the Lanham Act.
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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.