Samsung allegedly made advertising claims stating that its keyboards were antimicrobial and inhibited germs and bacteria. Because these were essentially pesticide claims, they fell under the jurisdiction of the EPA, which enforces the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, before a pesticide can be sold or distributed in the United States, the manufacturer must register with the EPA. Samsung didn’t do that, and EPA brought an enforcement action. Under the resulting order, Samsung will pay a $205,000 fine, and will provide a certification that it has complied with FIFRA by removing all pesticidal claims made in connection with the sales and distributions of these products. Additionally, Samsung agreed to notify its retailers and distributors to remove any pesticidal claims from labels, promotional brochures and Internet/Web-based content for the subject products.

Why This Matters

Advertising for certain products and services is regulated by agencies other than the FTC. Moreover, there are situations, as here, where a product whose advertising otherwise would be regulated by FTC suddenly becomes subject to another regulatory regime because of the type of claim being made.