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Jason Howell serves as co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions practice and as a member of the Trademark, Copyright & Media practice.

Key Update:

  • A federal court in New York denied Danone Waters of America’s motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit accusing it of falsely advertising Evian-branded bottled water as “carbon neutral.”
  • The putative class-action lawsuit claims that the Evian water bottles are not actually carbon neutral due to alleged emission of carbon dioxide during manufacturing.
  • The court found that consumers could be confused by the term “carbon neutral,” noting that understanding Evian’s meaning “expects too much” from consumers.

Continue Reading Judge Rules Water Bottler Must Face Class Action Over “Carbon Neutral” Claims

Key Updates:

  • On October 11, 2023, the FTC proposed a new rule that it claims will end deceptive “junk fees.” The FTC defines junk fees as “bait-and-switch pricing tactics” that conceal required charges while misleading consumers about the actual price of items.
  • The FTC claims the proposed rule is expected to save consumers more than 50 million hours each year in the search for total price of items, particularly in live event ticketing and short-term lodging.

Continue Reading Junk Fees Under Scrutiny: FTC Issues Proposed Rulemaking

The FTC released a staff paper in September 2023 directed at businesses and social media influencers who promote products to children online. The paper includes findings from the FTC’s October 2022 workshop, “Protecting Kids From Stealth Advertising in Digital Media,” which addressed the issue of blurred advertising that makes it hard for children to distinguish advertising content from other digital content.Continue Reading FTC Staff Perspective: Preventing Blurred Advertising to Children

The Federal Trade Commission recently finalized updates to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address the FTC’s latest thinking about how the truth-in-advertising standards under the FTC Act apply to endorsement and review-related issues.

The updated Guides expand or clarify guidance related to (1) who can be considered

The FTC published the proposed Negative Option Rule (Rule) to the Federal Register on April 24, 2023, with the goal of preventing unfair and deceptive practices related to recurring subscriptions for products and services. The FTC has invited the public to comment on proposed changes to the Rule. Written comments must be submitted by June

As part of its assessment of the Guidelines for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a workshop on May 23, 2023, to consider “recyclable” advertising claims and issues related to environmental claims. The workshop is titled “Talking Trash at the FTC: Recyclable Claims and the Green Guides.”Continue Reading FTC To Hold Workshop on “Recyclable” Claims as Part of Continuing Green Guides Review

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to expand its “Negative Option Rule” to apply to all recurring subscription programs (Proposed Amendment). The Proposed Amendment would have a sweeping effect on recurring subscriptions, requiring—similarly to some state laws—clear and conspicuous disclosure of material terms, double opt-ins for sign-ups, a simple cancellation method, and an annual renewal reminder. If approved, the Proposed Amendment would set a nationwide floor by requiring specific practices for subscriptions, but it would not supplant existing state laws addressing recurring subscriptions. The amendment would also greatly expand the FTC’s ability to seek penalties and consumer redress for violations.Continue Reading FTC Proposes Rulemaking for Recurring Subscription Programs

Key Update:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has used a $1 million settlement with NutraClick to reimburse customers who allegedly believed they were receiving free products but were actually enrolled in an unwanted monthly subscription program.

Continue Reading FTC Settlement With NutraClick Reimburses Customers Nearly $1 Million for Recurring Subscription Practices

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued Health Products Compliance Guidance (the Health Guides). The Health Guides replace prior FTC guidance issued in 1998 that largely focused on dietary supplements. The new guidance addresses advertising practices for a broader range of products, namely “any health-related product,” including foods, over-the-counter drugs, homeopathic products, devices, health equipment

Key Updates:

  • LCA-Vision, d/b/a LasikPlus and Joffe Medicenter, has agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) allegations that it misrepresented the price of eye surgery to entice prospective customers.
  • According to the FTC’s allegations, only a small percentage of patients qualified for the promotional rate.
  • In addition to the monetary fine, the clinics are prohibited from misrepresenting the cost of surgery or omitting restrictions on advertised services.

Continue Reading FTC Targets Lasik Eye Correction Promotional Pricing With $1.25 Million Settlement Order