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First, it was the “Internet of Things” and now it is the “Internet of Dolls.” Mattel, maker of the iconic Barbie doll, has announced plans to introduce “Hello Barbie,” a doll with a Siri-like ability to communicate. The new Barbie, which connects to the cloud through WiFi, can have conversations, tell jokes, and play games with the children who own them.

Hello Barbie also has the ability to listen and learn girl’s preferences and adapt to them accordingly.  During a recent demonstration when a Hello Barbie prototype was asked “What should I be when I grow up?” she responded “Well, you told me you like being on stage. How about a dancer? Or a politician? Or a dancing politician?”

This Barbie doll is likely just the first in what will surely be a long line of dolls and toys that have incredible technological capabilities—whether it is a Siri-like ability to communicate, video recording technology, or the chance to communicate to friends.

But, as these new frontiers of play develop, manufacturers and marketers need to work to ensure that we can strike a balance between innovative play and children’s safety and privacy. And the lines aren’t always clear.


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Cheri Falvey - Crowell & Moring partner and co-chair of the firm’s Advertising & Product Risk Management Group

Consumer safety is increasingly on the minds of government regulators and consumer product companies. In a three-part video series, Cheri Falvey, Crowell & Moring partner and co-chair of the firm’s Advertising & Product Risk Management Group, as well as former general counsel of the CPSC, breaks down risk mitigation strategies that consumer products companies should consider as part of their compliance programs.

In these two-minute videos, Cheri goes over common mistakes that companies can make in meeting their regulatory compliance obligation, what corporate officers can do to avoid enforcement action, and how to minimize the risk of litigation during a product recall, amongst other considerations. Click here to view this video alert and to access a transcript on Crowell.com. Each video is also embedded at the bottom of this post.


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The choices facing American consumers are no longer just “paper or plastic” or “do you want fries with that?” Today, when strolling the aisles of a grocery store, customers have the option to buy local, organic, gluten-free, low-carb, or any other of a dozen choices. The local coffee shop offers a selection of responsibly-sourced coffees, shade grown coffees, and beans from Ethiopia, Yemen, or Guatemala. What savvy companies and marketers have realized is that American consumers like choice and they like to feel good about the products they buy.

And global trends— like safety concerns about foreign-made products, interest in supporting a flagging U.S. economy, or just plain patriotism—may encourage consumers to change their buying patterns—in favor of American goods. Smart manufacturers and marketers understand this and know that customers may be willing to pay a premium for American quality goods. And so, unsurprisingly, smart companies are doing what they can to make and market products as “Made in America.”


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On August 13, 2014, Crowell & Moring’s Cheryl A. Falvey was featured as the luncheon keynote speaker at the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI)’s Product Safety Summit in Boston, MA. Her topic was titled: “Building a Scalable Compliance Program for a Small Business.”

The PPAI Product Safety Summit was a one and a

Next week, advertising and product risk management partners Chris Cole and Cheri Falvey and privacy and cybersecurity counsel Liz Blumenfeld will participate in the Brand Activation Association’s (formerly the Promotion Marketing Association) 35th Annual Marketing Law Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Chris Cole will moderate a panel entitled “What’s in a Claim? Principles and Requirements of

Next week, partners Greg Call and Jennifer Romano will present three courses to attendees at the National Retail Tenants Association National Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Greg is a long-time NRTA participant and presenter, and he received the NRTA Founders’ Service Award in 2007.  Greg will be teaching a course entitled “Read the Lease: Operating Cost

On May 30, 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled its preliminary policy statement on automated vehicles—defined by NHTSA as vehicles in which some, or all, of the main controls are managed without direct input from the driver. Vehicles with varying levels of automation are already out on the roads and many more

Politicians and public interest groups in the European Union are showing renewed interest in expanded country of origin labeling requirements in the wake of February’s horse meat scandal, where lasagna and other products sold in the EU purportedly made from beef were found instead to contain horse meat. Specifically, attention is focused on Regulation (EU)

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has announced that it plans to explore future rulemaking on the management of “waste retail products” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”).  Waste retail products include unsold or returned retail products which may at some point become hazardous waste under current RCRA regulations.  According to the Unified Agenda,