Effective March 15, 2010, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) will be raising the CBBB Corporate Partner filing fee to $3,500 from $2,500 for filing a NAD challenge.

This is the first increase in the Corporate Partner filing fee since 2005 and continues to represent a very significant discount to the filing fee charged to companies that are not CBBB corporate partners. Non-CBBB Corporate Partners pay between $6,000 and $20,000, depending on size of the company in terms of gross annual revenue. The CBBB states that the increase in the Corporate Partner filing fee will help it ensure that the NAD staff can continue to provide a high level of service to its users.

Why This Matters

This increase is likely to have no impact on a company’s decision whether to bring an action before the NAD. Using the NAD is a uniquely efficient way to resolve advertising disputes that cannot be resolved by a cease-and-desist letter. The cost of arbitration through commercial arbitration sources is far more expensive generally and does not offer the experience the NAD has with advertising cases. A civil action could cost three or four times as much just to get to a preliminary injunction hearing. There are many reasons why one might choose civil litigation under 43(a) of the Lanham Act rather than the NAD, but cost isn’t one of them.