Archives: In the Courts

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Living in a Fantasy World? Judge Admonishes Plaintiff’s Counsel for Filing Emergency Motion Over Unicorns

Last week, a federal judge admonished a plaintiff’s lawyer for filing a second emergency motion in its trademark infringement suit to halt the sale of counterfeit unicorn drawings amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. On March 9, 2020, the plaintiff, Art Ask Agency, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of … Continue Reading

Chicago Blackhawks Hit with Illinois BIPA Class Action Over Use of Facial Recognition Technology at Home Games

This month, an Illinois resident filed a proposed class action lawsuit in Illinois state court against the Chicago Blackhawks (the “Blackhawks”) alleging that the NHL team utilizes facial recognition technology at its home games in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). According to the complaint, plaintiff Keith Allen attended a Blackhawks home … Continue Reading

1-800 Contacts Eyes Reversal of Judgment for Anticompetitive Advertising Agreements

On March 5, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard argument on an appeal seeking to overturn judgment against contact lens distributor 1-800 Contacts (“1-800”) for antitrust violations relating to agreements with competitors on advertising keywords.  This post follows our prior coverage of this matter, and is designed to highlight the … Continue Reading

Cannabis Company is Sued for Showing Mural in Advertising Campaign

Artist Diana Perez filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Colorado federal court against a cannabis company and two advertising agencies over allegations that her street mural was featured in advertisements for cannabis-infused essential oil products without her permission. According to the complaint, Perez created the mural at issue, entitled “Besties” as a part of the … Continue Reading

Class Action Alleges Starbucks Shortchanges Customers’ Caffeine

Last month, a putative class action was filed against Starbucks, Inc. in California federal court alleging that the coffee giant is tricking customers into purchasing larger espresso-based drinks when they contain the same amount of caffeine as the smaller size. The complaint alleges that Starbucks engages in a “classic bait-and-switch scheme that causes unsuspecting consumers … Continue Reading

FTC Settles With Financial Company Over Fake Rankings of Financial Products and Reviews

This month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it reached a settlement with the operators of a website that compares student loans and other financial products over allegations of misleading ratings and reviews. According to the FTC’s complaint, LendEDU falsely claimed that its website provided “objective,” “accurate,” and “unbiased” information about consumer financial products, … Continue Reading

Proposed Class Action Targets CBD Maker Over ADA Website Accessibility

Last month, a putative class action lawsuit was filed in New York federal court against Charlotte’s Web, Inc., a Colorado-based maker of cannabidiol (“CBD”) oils, balms and gummies claiming that its website is not accessible to visually impaired shoppers, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). According to the complaint, plaintiff Joseph Guglielmo, … Continue Reading

Kendall and Kylie Jenner “Klauber-ed” for Allegedly Infringing Lace Designs

Last month, a New York based fabric manufacturer, Klauber Brothers Inc., filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in California federal court against apparel companies owned by Kendall and Kylie Jenner for allegedly stealing the company’s lace designs and using them to make and sell apparel under the Kendall + Kylie collection name. According to the complaint, … Continue Reading

Proposed Class Action Targets CBD Chocolate Maker Over False THC and CBD Content

A class action filed this month in California alleges that Bhang Corporation, a Florida-based medicinal chocolate maker, violated several state and federal laws by claiming that its chocolate products contained much greater amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”) than they actually did, in order to charge consumers premium prices. The complaint alleges that plaintiff Charles … Continue Reading

Website and Its Operator Settle FTC Charges They Sold Fake Indicators of Social Media Influence

Devumi, LLC (“Devumi”) and its owner and CEO, German Calas, Jr. (“Calas”) have agreed to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) complaint alleging that Devumi and Calas engaged in deceptive online marketing tactics in violation of the FTC Act. In this first-ever type of complaint, the FTC alleges that Devumi and Calas sold fake indicators … Continue Reading

FTC Obtains Temporary Restraining Order To Halt Company’s “Misleading” and “Bogus” Real Estate Seminars

Earlier this month, a federal court entered a temporary restraining order against a Utah-based business, which the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection (“DCP”) alleged used deceptive promises of big profits to lure consumers into real estate seminars costing thousands of dollars. According to the complaint filed by the FTC … Continue Reading

Does this new shirt make my claims look less puffy?

Claims that a product is “revolutionary,” “never before seen,” or providing a solution to an unsolved problem can be sometimes cavalierly regarded as puffery. We often find ourselves warning clients that the National Advertising Division (NAD) has sometimes required advertisers to have a reasonable basis for innovation claims (i.e., claims that their product is a … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Case For $25 Million With Dietary Supplement Sellers Over Cognitive Claims

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled charges against 12 companies who deceptively marketed “cognitive improvement” supplements by using sham news websites containing false and unsubstantiated efficacy claims, referencing non-existent clinical studies, and advertising fraudulent consumer and celebrity endorsements. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants falsely claimed that their dietary supplements could enhance … Continue Reading

iSpring Water Settles Case With FTC For “Made In The USA” Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it reached a settlement with iSpring Water Systems, LLC for allegedly making false claims that its wholly imported Chinese water filtration systems were made in the U.S.A – in violation of a 2017 FTC consent order. In 2017, the company made certain claims that its water filtration systems … Continue Reading

Design Is Not Content: Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds That Communications Decency Act Provides Immunity to Website Against Negligent Web Design Claim

Does the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provide immunity to a website against allegations that its design and operation enabled a third party to buy a gun, which the third party then used as a murder weapon? In Daniel v. Armslist, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said “yes,” reversed the intermediate court of appeals, and reinstated an … Continue Reading

The FTC “Intravenes:” Final Consent Order Approved Against iV Cocktails

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a final consent order settling deceptive advertising charges against A&O Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a iV Bars regarding deceptive and unsupported health claims that iV Bars’ intravenously injected therapy products, or “iV Cocktails,” can safely and effectively prevent and treat such serious diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular … Continue Reading

The FTC Takes a Bite out of Free Trials and Incentivized Reviews

This month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a settlement with San Francisco-based food delivery service UrthBox, Inc. and its principal, Behnam Behrouzi, regarding the company’s failure to adequately disclose key terms of its “free trial” automatic renewal programs and its misrepresentation of customer reviews. According to the FTC’s complaint, from October 2016 to November … Continue Reading

FTC Continues Enforcement Actions To Stop Deceptive Free-Trial And Negative Option Schemes

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently filed another case in a series of recent enforcement actions targeting allegedly deceptive online “free-trial” offers that tricked consumers into enrolling in negative option plans. The FTC charged Gopalkrishna Pai and eight (8) companies he owns and operates as a common enterprise with violating the FTC Act and the … Continue Reading

FTC Stops Fake Job Opportunity And Resume Repair Operation

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently charged two companies, Worldwide Executive Job Search Solutions, LLC and PrivateEquityHeadhunters.com and their owner Craig Chrest with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from consumers for fake job placement and resume repair services. At the FTC’s request … Continue Reading

Denver Club “Stripped” Carmen Electra and Others of Compensation, Suit Says

Carmen Electra, joined by models Dessie Mitcheson and Lucy Pinder, sued a Colorado strip club over the club’s allegedly unauthorized use of its photographs on its website and social media in late January of this year. The aggrieved trio claims that the Denver club “Shotgun Willie’s” posted photos of the models in online advertisements for … Continue Reading

“Fiji Water Girl” Made Waves But Got Soaked, Alleges New Lawsuit

Model and meme icon Kelleth Cuthbert (real name Kelly Steinbach) became an overnight sensation as “Fiji Water Girl” after photobombing celebrities on the Golden Globes red carpet in January. Now, she is seeking to recover against Fiji Water Company and its parent company, The Wonderful Company, for allegedly misappropriating her likeness and violating her right … Continue Reading

Model Misbehavior? Gigi Hadid Faces Copyright Suit Over Instagram Post

Gigi Hadid found herself sued for copyright infringement by New York photo agency Xclusive-Lee, Inc. over a photo the fashion model posted to her Instagram account. The disputed photo was of Hadid herself, smiling at the camera while wearing a blue denim jacket and matching shorts with silver heels, and was snapped by paparazzi. Xclusive-Lee … Continue Reading

Federal Court Tosses False Advertising Suit Against Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water

A California federal court granted Trader Joe’s motion to dismiss a false advertising lawsuit with regards to Trader Joe’s alkaline water, finding that all but one of plaintiff’s claims were non-actionable puffery, and granting plaintiff leave to amend the single remaining claim. Plaintiff alleged that Trader Joe’s alkaline water product labelling, which included numerous plus … Continue Reading

Douglas Wood, Reed Smith Partner and General Counsel to the Association of National Advertisers, Discusses Growth Issues Facing Brands For 2019

Douglas Wood published an article for the Association of National Advertisers on January 2nd titled “Growth in 2019: A Legal Perspective.” In the article, Doug discusses how legal issues will affect brands and growth in years to come and provides an outlook on legal challenges marketers who care about growth need to keep in mind … Continue Reading
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