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Federal Court Tosses TCPA Suit Over Hotel Booking Text Messages

A California federal court granted Singapore-based hotel booking firm Agoda Company Pte. Ltd.’s (“Agoda”) motion for summary judgment in a case involving alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The plaintiff alleged that the confirmation text he received after booking travel on Agoda’s website [“Good news! Your Agoda booking [number] is confirmed. Manage … Continue Reading

Federal Court Tosses False Advertising Suit Over Angie’s List Rankings

A Kansas federal court granted Angie’s List’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging false advertising, finding that most of plaintiff’s claims were time-barred and the rest were not properly pled. The owner of a tree trimming business spent over $200,000 in advertising on Angie’s List from 2005 and 2013. According to the plaintiff, … Continue Reading

Litigation in the Forecast for Weather Channel App

On January 3, the city of Los Angeles accused TWC Product and Technology, LLC (“TWC”) (an International Business Machines Corporation subsidiary) of violating millions of American consumers’ privacy. In the civil lawsuit, Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer alleged TWC misled users of its Weather Channel app to turn on precise location tracking by suggesting, … Continue Reading

Five Companies Settle Privacy Case With NY AG Over Apps

The New York Attorney General settled cases with five companies – Equifax, Western Union, Priceline.com, Spark Network and Credit Sesame – for having mobile apps that failed to keep sensitive user data secure when transmitted over the Internet. The companies’ mobile apps suffered from a well-known security vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to intercept … Continue Reading

Washington D.C. Proposes Auto-Renewal Bill

Washington D.C. is seeking to impose new burdens on businesses offering goods and services with automatic renewal provisions. The bill was submitted to the Mayor’s office, and we expect a response around January 14, 2019. If passed, the bill would require businesses to disclose the automatic renewal provisions and cancellation procedure in contracts with consumers. … Continue Reading

Ready Tech Settles Privacy Shield Case with FTC

Late last year, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled another enforcement action over false claims under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (the “Privacy Shield”). The FTC alleges that Ready Tech Corporation, a provider of online and instructor led training (“Ready-Tech”), falsely claimed in its privacy policy on its website that it was in the process … Continue Reading

New Year, New Vermont Law for Data Brokers

Effective January 1, 2019, a new Vermont law imposes data security and annual disclosure obligations on data brokerage companies (e.g., Acxiom, Experian, Epsilon). The law requires data brokers to register annually with the Vermont Attorney General and pay an annual registration fee. Data brokers must disclose annually to the State Attorney General, among other things, information … Continue Reading

“As Seen on TV” Means Exactly That, Court Finds

In a recent false advertising case, the court reminded everyone again that if you say something about your product, you had better mean it. Emson, which sells cookware products largely through direct response television spots, brought a false advertising claim against Masterpan and Smart & Eazy Corp. (“S&E”). According to Emson, both defendants made false … Continue Reading

Today’s Hot Topic: Public Service Announcements

From time to time it’s good to keep in mind specific network guidelines when producing public service announcements. According to network standards, public service announcements (PSAs) are meant to inform the public of the work of charitable, governmental, and non-profit organizations and other services available to the public. Such announcements must reflect the true nature … Continue Reading

Zika Repellent Could Not Keep Away FTC

PR firm Creaxion Corporation and Inside Publications, LLC settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week regarding promotional practices for Creaxion’s mosquito repellent. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Creaxion planned a media campaign around its launch of the mosquito repellent during the Zika virus outbreak tied to the 2016 Summer Olympics. They … Continue Reading

A License to Kill a License? SCOTUS to Resolve Trademark Bankruptcy Split

Trademark licensing is a driving force in business relationships. One common example is where one business owns a trademark, which it licenses out to other companies who manufacture and sell the products bearing the mark. But, what happens if the trademark owner goes bankrupt? Bankruptcy law gives a debtor the right to “reject” contracts to … Continue Reading

New SCOTUS Case Could Sharpen FCC’s Teeth in the Courtroom

Earlier this month the Supreme Court granted certiorari in PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., the resolution of which will impact the judiciary’s power to interpret agency rules. The facts underlying case appear unremarkable on their face; a health information service and publisher sent a single fax to a chiropractor’s office in … Continue Reading

Sunkist’s New Candy Packaging Is Forbidden Fruit, Welch’s Infringement Suit Says

Promotion in Motion Inc. (“PIM”) makes the popular Welch’s Fruit Snacks under a licensing deal with Welch’s, and Kervan USA LLC is a rival candymaker that has a similar licensing arrangement with Sunkist Growers Inc. PIM, however, contends that Kervan sought to capitalize on the fruits of PIM’s labors, and sued Kervan in the District … Continue Reading

NRA Is Full of Beans, Claims Sculpture Artist in Copyright Suit

The British artist Anish Kapoor, sculptor of the iconic Chicago art piece Cloud Gate, known colloquially as the Bean, filed suit against the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) for using imagery of Cloud Gate in online videos without his permission. Kapoor registered Cloud Gate with the U.S. Copyright Office in January 2016, and was “shocked and … Continue Reading

Harshing My “Vibes”: Kim Kardashian Fragrance Line Faces Trademark Infringement Suit

Kim Kardashian West’s fragrance company, KKW Fragrance LLC, is the target of a reverse confusion trademark infringement suit launched by Chicago-based mobile marketing company, Vibes Media, LLC. According to Vibes’ complaint, KKW Fragrance intentionally copied Vibes’ name and speech bubble logo in a new perfume also called “Vibes” that Kardashian launched as part of her … Continue Reading

Scientific Studies Are “SuperStarch” Kryptonite, Class Action Suit Says

Plaintiff Kevin McCann launched a putative class action against The UCAN Company (“UCAN”), which markets and distributes a line of sports performance products including “Generation UCAN SuperStarch Drink Mix,” “Generation UCAN Protein Drink Mix,” and “UCAN Snack Bars powered by SuperStarch.” The products all contain “SuperStarch,” which UCAN claims to be an easily digestible carbohydrate … Continue Reading

Shedding Unwanted Pounds and Class Actions: Jenny Craig Settles TCPA Suit for $3 Million

Last month, a Florida district court granted preliminary approval of a $3 million class action settlement brought on behalf of recipients of unwanted Jenny Craig marketing text messages. The lead plaintiff, Zoey Bloom, alleges in her complaint that Jenny Craig used an automatic telephone dialing system to transmit two text messages that advertised Jenny Craig’s … Continue Reading

Vegan Cookie Company Settles Deceptive Nutrition Label Suit For $5 Million

Vegan cookie company, Lenny & Larry’s Inc., has reached a $5 million settlement with a proposed class of consumers who accused the company of misstating the nutritional value of its “Complete Cookie.” The proposed class action plaintiffs alleged that the Complete Cookie’s label violated the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and a variety of … Continue Reading

ANA Releases Latest White Paper on Transparency in Wake of FBI Investigation

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Reed Smith released a white paper – Media Buying 2018: Transparency at a Crossroads – reporting on the state of transparency in the advertising industry and the recently announced FBI criminal investigation into agency media buying practices. Pursuant to the FBI’s request, the ANA notified its advertiser members … Continue Reading

Six Years Behind Bars: DOJ Gives Dire Warning to Online False Advertisers

The First Circuit recently affirmed the six-year sentence of Mustafa Hassan Arif, who sold bogus drugs and health products under a panoply of brands he had concocted out of Pakistan. Arif created and operated over 1,500 websites to market and sell the products, and induced unwitting purchasers in the United States and elsewhere to buy … Continue Reading

Just Fruit? Kind Faces Yet Another Class Action Lawsuit

Last month, a class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging that Kind, LLC (“Kind”) deceptively advertises certain Kind bars and fruit packets. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that Kind uses images of fruit on its products, and employs fruit sounding names, when the products do not contain whole fruit (e.g., the product containing mango, apple … Continue Reading

Stung by the FTC: Aromaflage Owner Settles Mosquito Repellant Advertising Claims

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a final consent order settling deceptive advertising charges against Mikey & Momo, Inc. and its owners regarding claims that its Aromaflage sprays and candles effectively repel mosquitoes, including mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus and other diseases. According to the FTC’s complaint, Mikey & Momo … Continue Reading

Sport Supplement Company and Consumers Settle Deceptive Label Suit

Dietary supplement manufacturer PhD Fitness LLC (“PhD Fitness”) and a putative class of consumers have reached a settlement over claims that PhD Fitness deceptively labelled its sports supplements. The plaintiffs filed the proposed class action alleging that the marketing materials and labels on PhD Fitness’ “JYM” and “Post-JYM” supplements made false and misleading claims about … Continue Reading

The Cousteau Society Sues Jacques Cousteau’s Granddaughter for Trademark Infringement

The Cousteau Society (“TCS”) filed a lawsuit in New York federal court against Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter, Celine Cousteau, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition under federal and New York state law. In its complaint, TCS argues that it owns all of the intellectual property associated with Jacques Cousteau – trademarks; rights of privacy, publicity, and … Continue Reading
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