A recent state court decision in California could prove a major headache for online retailers that engage in comparative price advertising. Although the decision — People of the State of California v. Overstock.com — is not binding precedent and its future on appeal is far from clear, the decision suggests that retailers may be forced to adopt more rigorous internal standards when engaging in comparative price advertising.
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. Representative clients include: Discovery Channel, Corbis Corporation, Google, Red Hat, Diesel, Benetton, Hasbro, The Limited, PlayStation and Victoria’s Secret.
Opt-In or Else: Maryland Introduces Negative Option Bill
The Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) recently announced that it will be increasing its enforcement efforts for website operators that participate in online behavioral advertising (OBA), which is targeted advertising to consumers based upon their interests. The BBB is responsible for enforcing the self-regulatory code created by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), which requires website operators to provide additional information regarding their OBA activity.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently approved the kidSAFE Seal Program’s kidSAFE+ seal as a safe harbor program through which companies can demonstrate compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.
According to a recent ruling in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, CrossFit may have violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by submitting a DMCA takedown request to Facebook based on trademark rights instead of copyrights. The case is a reminder that there are consequences under the DMCA for companies that fail to exercise caution when policing their trademark rights and copyrights on the internet.
FTC Calls Unreasonable Security an Unfair Trade Practice
A lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Accretive Health, Inc. reminds employers to ensure they have a policy in place to manage employee use, access and control over personal data. The FTC investigation began when an Accretive employee’s laptop, storing the sensitive health information of 23,000 patients, was stolen.
The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider a dispute between Pom Wonderful (Pom) and The Coca-Cola Company related to whether a drink label can be considered deceptive under federal false advertising laws, but permissible under regulations of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). A decision in the case could have a significant impact on federal false advertising litigation and potentially force some companies to reexamine their food labeling practices.
According to the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Google’s co-mingling of the personal identification information (PII) it collects from users across multiple product platforms does not create an injury sufficient to grant standing to sue in federal court. Merely alleging that Google profited off users’ data is not enough. Rather, plaintiffs must allege some specific economic deprivation resulting from the use of the data.
By now, most consumers are familiar with those sponsored links that appear on Yahoo!, Google, or Bing after they search for something on the Internet. Those “keyword” advertisements are a significant source of revenue for the online search engines, appearing on consumers’ computer screens next to the “organic” search results when consumers type in relevant phrases or terms. The ads work because they are designed to mirror the consumer’s search and ideally to provide the consumer with exactly what they were looking for.
The Beastie Boys don’t play games when it comes to copyright infringement. The legendary hip hop band is waging an aggressive legal battle against a company called GoldieBlox that makes engineering toys for girls over what the band claims is copyright and trademark infringement related to its 1987 hit song “Girls.”
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