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Celebrity Chef Sued By Certification Organization Over “Gluten-Free” Labelling

Last month, gluten intolerance advocacy group Gluten Intolerance Group (“GIG”) sued celebrity chef Jamie Oliver for trademark infringement and unfair business practices under the Lanham Act and state consumer protection laws in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. According to the complaint, GIG is an independent organization that certifies food producers … Continue Reading

Chipped Away: Frito-Lay Removes “All Natural” Label from Products Containing GMOs

The plaintiffs in a five year old consumer class action against Frito-Lay North America and its parent company PepsiCo, Inc. got their wish earlier this month when Frito-Lay agreed to remove the “All Natural” label from its products containing genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”). In July 2012, a proposed class of consumers who purchased Tostitos tortilla … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Denies Review of Indiana Anti-Robocall Law

The U.S. Supreme Court denied nonprofit Patriotic Veterans, Inc.’s petition for review of Indiana’s ban on the use of technology that automatically dials residential phone numbers and plays prerecorded messages. Patriotic Veterans, based in Illinois, uses this “robocall” technology to disseminate pre-recorded messages about political candidates’ positions on issues affecting veterans.  In 2010, however, the … Continue Reading

Ka-pow! 9th Circuit Finds Social Media Gag Order Unconstitutional in COMIC CON Trademark Dispute

In a previous post, we analyzed the battle over the trademark COMIC CON, which is owned by the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) but has been used by over 100 other comic book convention organizers.  SDCC brought suit against one of these alleged infringers, Dan Farr Productions, in 2014, but failed to secure summary judgment … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court Denies Copyright Protection for Sound Recordings Predating Coverage Under the Federal Copyright Act

In a major victory for media and broadcast entities, the Supreme Court of Florida recently established that Florida law does not recognize exclusive copyright protections for sound recordings that were “fixed” before February 15, 1972. Sound recordings fixed after this date are governed by federal copyright law. This decision arose out of a copyright infringement … Continue Reading

Prize-Linked Savings Laws Spread Across States

With Americans’ saving habits in the news as the federal government considers caps on retirement contributions, financial institutions should be aware that many states are passing laws making it easier to incentivize saving. To date, 26 states have enacted legislation that liberalizes their approaches to games of chance in support of good consumer saving practices. … Continue Reading

Arrgh! Social Media Post Lands “Pirate Joe’s” in Hot Water

In the highly-publicized case about unauthorized reselling of Trader Joe’s merchandise by renegade Canadian merchant “Pirate Joe’s,” social media provided the powder keg for Trader Joe’s arbitration enforcement demand. The case set sail in May 2013, when Trader Joe’s sued Pirate Joe’s proprietor Michael Hallatt for federal trademark infringement and violations of Washington state consumer … Continue Reading

Cracking Open a Cold One: Plaintiffs’ False Advertising Suit Against Brewer Survives Dismissal

Earlier this year, two plaintiffs launched a putative class action against Portland-based Craft Brew Alliance, the fifth largest brewing company in the U.S. and parent company of Kona Brewing Co. Craft Brew acquired Kona in 2010, emblazoning its bottles and cans with images and text that conjure Hawaii’s scenery and lifestyle.  There’s just one issue:  … Continue Reading

Judge Agrees – YouTube Mockery Protected by Fair Use

Readers may be aware of YouTube celebrity couple Ethan and Hila Klein, better known by their social media moniker @h3h3productions. They rose to Internet fame producing comedic “reaction” videos that ridicule and comment upon other Internet content, boasting 4.9 million subscribers on their YouTube channel.  Not everyone laughed along though, particularly fellow YouTuber Matt Hosseinzadeh, … Continue Reading

Gatorade Agrees to Stop Hating On Water

Gatorade recently handed $300,000 to California to settle false advertising and unfair competition claims that boil down to making water look bad. The company released an app in 2012 called “Bolt!” that featured an animation of Jamaican Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt, racing to recapture gold coins from pirates. Gatorade icons boosted performance and water … Continue Reading

FTC Provided Guidance Regarding Affiliate Marketing

The FTC alerted consumers to the truth behind online advertisements connected to affiliate marketers in a September 20th blog post titled, What’s affiliate marketing? Should I Care? The FTC took action against an online marketing operation this summer over a low-cost trial scam involving tooth-whitening products. According to the FTC, many consumers remain unaware that … Continue Reading

“Pact” Health App Breaks Pact, Settles With FTC

Pact, Inc. settled charges with the FTC on September 21, 2017 that the mobile software application company engaged in deceptive acts and practices, unfair billing practices, and failure to disclose material terms relating to its Pact app. The Pact app is premised on paying members that complete health-related weekly “pacts” with funds generated by users … Continue Reading

“Local” is a Claim Requiring Substantiation in False Advertising Action

U.S. District Court in Utah decided an interesting case involving whether an advertiser can use the word “local” in Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Leland Sycamore et al.  Defendant Leland Sycamore had invented the trade secret process and formula for making “Grandma Sycamore’s Home-Maid Bread.”  After securing trademark registration for the bread packaging design, Leland … Continue Reading

Policing Your Registrations is No Joke, COMIC CON Trademark Dispute Shows

The San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) and the proprietors of Utah’s “Salt Lake Comic Con” sparred recently in summary judgment arguments over the SDCC’s COMIC CON trademark. The SDCC owns four registrations for COMIC CON, and claims that Dan Farr Productions and other defendants infringed those trademarks by capitalizing upon the fame and goodwill of … Continue Reading

Coffee Subscription Lawsuit Involving Negative Option Contracts a Wake-up Call for Online Sellers

Earlier this year, coffee chain Peet’s Coffee & Tea LLC was sued by a putative class comprised of all California customers who purchased subscriptions of coffee and tea from the company after February 2013. The class alleged that Peet’s Coffee violates California’s Automatic Renewal Law (“ARL”) and Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) by automatically charging customers’ … Continue Reading

NIST Updates Its Security and Privacy Guidance

Earlier this month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) issued its fifth and latest draft of its “Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations” guidance document. The NIST guidance document expands on previous drafts that focused on privacy and security improvements for the federal government and now provides security and privacy … Continue Reading

Dona J. Fraser, formerly of ESRB, to serve as Director, Children’s Advertising Review Unit

Dona Fraser, a leading privacy expert, comes to CARU from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a self-regulatory program developed by the video game industry. Dona brings to CARU a strong understanding of the marketplace challenges facing children’s advertisers, the complexities of children’s privacy issues and extensive experience with self-regulation. Dona has spoken on these … Continue Reading

Seeing Through Transparency, Part 3

In the aftermath of the media transparency report from K2 Intelligence in June 2016, the ANA has published two additional reports on transparency issues beyond the K2 report.  In May 2017, the ANA added, “Programmatic: Seeing Through The Financial Fog”, a study on the lack of transparency in programmatic buying.  Now the ANA has added … Continue Reading

Laura Brett Selected As New NAD Director

Last week, Laura Brett was named director of the National Advertising Division of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (“NAD”). Laura Brett joined the NAD in 2012, and is widely viewed as an excellent choice to maintain continuity with former director Andrea Levine. Laura speaks frequently at advertising conferences about the role of the NAD in the … Continue Reading

Jewelry Company Sues Macy’s for Copyright Infringement

California-based jewelry company Brighton Collectibles LLC (“Brighton”) filed suit against Macy’s Inc. (“Macy’s”) for copyright infringement. According to the complaint, Brighton alleges that Macy’s infringed copyrighted designs for Brighton’s Reno heart bracelet and necklace products. Brighton alleges that Macy’s damaged its brand, reputation and goodwill by continuing to sell the alleged copies, despite receiving a … Continue Reading

SoulCycle Settles Gift Card Lawsuit For Up To $9.2 Million

Popular indoor cycling company SoulCycle Inc. recently settled a nationwide putative class action in an agreement valued between $6.9 million and $9.2 million. The suit alleged that SoulCycle defrauded customers by selling gift certificates with expiration dates (and keeping the expiring, unused balances), in violation of state and Federal law. According to the complaint, SoulCycle … Continue Reading
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