Archives: Regulatory – United States

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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

Quaker Oats Succeeds in Maple Syrup Suit

The Central District of California granted Quaker Oats Company’s Motion to Dismiss a Consolidated Class Action Complaint on October 10. Plaintiffs alleged Quaker Oats Company was liable for labeling its “Maple & Brown Sugar”-flavored instant oatmeal as “Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Maple & Brown Sugar” alongside an image of a pitcher of maple syrup.  The plaintiffs … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Sanctions Weight-Loss Supplement Marketers for Violating Past Court Order

A judge in the Northern District of Georgia has found a number of defendants, comprising a larger company named Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Hi-Tech”), in contempt for repeated violations of court orders prohibiting the defendants from making deceptive marketing claims about weight-loss supplements and erectile dysfunction products. As a result of the order, Hi-Tech is required … Continue Reading

FTC Issues New but Narrow COPPA Guidance on Voice Recordings

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released a policy enforcement statement to provide additional guidance under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) for organizations that use audio voice recordings of children. This additional guidance builds on the FTC’s 2013 updates to COPPA that brought additional data types, such as photographs, videos and audio … Continue Reading

Nominations for FTC Commissioner Vacancies Announced

The president has announced two nominations for Federal Trade Commission posts, including the chair position. Joseph Simons, who served at the agency for almost two decades and directed the Bureau of Competition from 2001 to 2003, has been nominated for the chairmanship, while Rohit Chopra of the Consumer Federation of America has also been nominated … Continue Reading

227k Consumers to Receive Refund Checks from Dietary Supplement Company Settlement

Roughly 227,000 consumers will receive an average of $43 each in an effort by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to send refunds to purchasers of dietary supplement products sold by Health Formulas LLC. The $9.8 million total refund is the result of a 2016 settlement with the company, its owners, and related companies, such as … 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

FTC Makes New Strides in Social Media Influencer Space with Settlement, Warnings, and Guidance

This month, online gaming social media influencers Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell settled the Federal Trade Commission’s first charges against individual failure to disclose material information in social media endorsements. Martin and Cassell are both operators of YouTube channels with millions of subscribers in the online gaming community and owners and officers of CSGOLotto, Inc., an … 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

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

FTC Warns 11 Companies Over Made in USA Claims

It seems to be another star-spangled banner year for the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and its crackdown on certain “Made in USA” claims. In 2016, the FTC cited 29 companies for their misleading “Made in USA” claims.  With the year’s halfway mark behind us, reports indicate that the FTC has similarly warned 11 companies for … Continue Reading

Texas Passes New Driverless Car Law: Drivers Not Required in Texas

Last month, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that expressly allows motor vehicles with “automated driving systems” to operate on Texas highways. While Texas had previously been silent on the issue of driverless cars, Texas Senate Bill 2205 authorizes these vehicles to operate on the roadways, provided that the operators (who may or … Continue Reading

You’re invited to an ANA and Reed Smith Webinar: “GDPR, ePrivacy and Advertisers: Sorting out the Confusion”

As we’re now less than a year away from the GDPR taking effect, there is a lot of confusion out there over myths versus reality. Reed Smith presenters will participate in a webinar hosted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) that will explore the practical considerations and the new thinking that brands and their … Continue Reading

FTC Submits Comments on Security Support for IoT Devices

The Federal Trade Commission in June submitted comments to the working group convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is studying the security of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices and how they interact with consumers. This request for comments focused on how IoT device manufacturers can effectively … Continue Reading

Advertiser Fined By FCC For Use Of Emergency Tones in Football Ads

The FCC entered into a settlement late last month with TEGNA, Inc. (“TEGNA”) for $55,000. The case erupted after TEGNA used Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) tones in its television ad promoting the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team.  The advertisement at issue opened with EAS tones along with sounds of gusting winds and thunder claps, and aired … Continue Reading

Vermont Legislature Passes Fantasy Sports Bill

In a move to become the latest state to regulate daily fantasy sports (“DFS”), the Vermont Legislature has passed a bill defining fantasy sports games and directing the state attorney general and governor’s office to develop a registration fee and tax system for fantasy sports operators and players in the state. Additionally, the bill bars … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Claims Against Trampoline Companies Over Online Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) last week agreed to settle charges levied against the marketers of Infinity and Olympus Pro brand trampolines. Those charges asserted that the marketers, under the guise of a variety of fake business names and review organizations, directed visitors to fictitious websites containing biased reviews that were actually written by one … Continue Reading

Consumers Sue Chocolatier Fannie May Over Empty Space In Chocolate Boxes

A putative class filed a false advertising claim against the Chicago chocolatier Fannie May Confections Brands Inc. earlier this month. Fannie May allegedly sells 7.0 oz. products in opaque boxes.  According to the complaint, consumers are deceived because the size of the boxes are larger than the volume of the products contained inside, leaving consumers … Continue Reading

FTC Extension of Robocalling Rules Is Approved By Federal Court

Last week, a D.C. District Court declined to find the Federal Trade Commission’s decision to extend robocalling restrictions to telemarketing calls that use “soundboard” technology unconstitutional or in violation of any procedural rules. The Soundboard Association, a telecommunications interest group, argued that the FTC rule was unconstitutional because the FTC bypassed the notice-and-comment requirements typically … Continue Reading
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