The FTC’s past week focused on the future. From Director Levine’s comments about consumer protection in the digital era to the House passing H.R. 3843, the FTC is in a forward-looking posture. More on this, as well as a settlement secured by the FTC, after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (September 26-30, 2022)

The FTC has been pounding the pavement this week, giving testimony, statements, and remarks to multiple types of audiences, including the U.S. Senate. More on these talks, as well as an update on a forthcoming event on protecting children from digital advertising, after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (September 19-23, 2022)

Allegations of trademark infringement against celebrity-founded brands are not new. In 2015, resort-wear brand Island Company LLC sued Kendall and Kylie Jenner for use of the phrase “Run Away, Fall in Love, Never Return,” which resembled Island Company’s trademark phrase “Quit Your Job, Buy a Ticket, Get A Tan, Fall In Love, Never Return”.[1] The case was settled in January 2016. In 2021, an Italian tribunal ordered social media influencer Chiara Ferragni to pull her snow boots from her footwear line, finding infringement on Tecnica group’s trademark for the world-renowned Moonboot.[2] Now, Vans, Inc., a sneaker company born out of 1960s California counter-culture, alleges trademark infringement by MSCHF, a Brooklyn art collective endorsed by rapper Tyga.

Continue Reading Fashionable Parody or a Trademark Infringing Wearable Sneaker? The Second Circuit Hears Both Sides.

In a recent Law360 article titled, “Penn State TM Case’s Impact On Merchandising And Beyond,” Crowell attorneys Cheryl Howard and David Ervin discuss the broader industry ramifications of Pennsylvania State University’s lawsuit against Vintage Brand LLC and the favored outcome for Vintage Brand. In the case, Pennsylvania State University filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against online retailer Vintage Brand for selling merchandise containing the school’s trademarks. Howard and Ervin analyze Vintage Brand’s successful argument that the university’s marks are ornamental and do not function as trademarks. They explain, “at issue is whether the designs on apparel and merchandise serve as source identifiers for the goods themselves,” and how, “all trademark owners could be affected in their ability to stop unauthorized merchandise depending on future rulings in the case.”

Click here to read the full article.

As previously reported, a number of consumers filed suit earlier this year against Exactech after it recalled the polyethylene liners in certain hip, knee, and ankle implants. As of February 2022, Exactech’s recall applied to hundreds of thousands of Connexion, Optetrak, Truliant and Vantage brand hip, knee, and ankle replacement liners manufactured as far back as 2004. According to Exactech, the polyethylene liners were packaged in non-conforming vacuum bags that lacked an additional protective layer and allowed air to come into contact with the inserts and increase the risk that the devices would fail once implanted in a patient.

Continue Reading Recall Litigation Report: Plaintiffs Seek to Consolidate Recall-Related Lawsuits Against  Exactech

On September 27, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1162, which  requires employers with more than 15 employees to disclose pay scales to current employees and on job postings beginning January 1, 2023. The bill also requires private employers with more than 100 employees to submit significantly more pay data to the California Civil Rights Department (CRD, formerly known as the DFEH) beginning in May 2023.

Pay Scale Disclosure Requirements  

With SB 1162, California joins Colorado, Washington, and New York City in requiring employers with more than 15 employees to disclose the pay scale for a position in any job posting. “Pay scale” means the salary or hourly wage range that an employer reasonably expects to pay for the position. The bill does not specify how or if this requirement applies to postings for remote jobs that may or may not be performed in California. We expect the CRD to issue additional guidance on this and other key issues in the coming months.

Continue Reading California Requires Disclosure of Pay Scales in Job Postings and Significant New Pay Data Reporting

In an expansion designed to bring its advertising review jurisdiction in line with those of international self-regulatory organizations and enforcers, the National Advertising Division (NAD) has expanded its review authority so that it not only covers the truth and accuracy of national advertising, but also advertising that portrays “negative harmful social stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination.” In so doing, NAD seeks to adapt its review process to permit the review of ads that cause possible social harm based on stereotypical or discriminatory portrayals. Unlike some international bodies, which are not constrained by the First Amendment, NAD proposes to tether its review to such portrayals that may cause harm because they are misleading and inaccurate.

Continue Reading National Advertising Division (NAD) Expands Jurisdiction to Review of Advertising Portraying “Negative Harmful Social Stereotyping, Prejudice or Discrimination.”

The FTC had an active week and addressed numerous topics, including ways to protect older adults and gig economy workers. Notably, the FTC released a report showing the rise in sophisticated dark pattern practices and the Commission’s commitment to combatting them. The Commission also announced a proposed rule targeting government and business impersonation scams. This story and more after the jump. 

Continue Reading FTC Updates (September 12–16, 2022)

A new draft report to Congress by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on behalf of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee cites textiles and the fashion industry as the leading sources of microfiber pollution in the environment. While the draft report acknowledges uncertainty about how microfiber pollution impacts the environment and human health, the report’s authors recommend that the textile and fashion industry—along with manufacturers of clothes washers and dryers and personal care products—design their products to prevent microfibers from being released into the environment.

The draft report was required to be developed pursuant to the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, enacted in 2020 on a bipartisan basis to address problems associated with marine debris and plastics in the ocean. It has been made available for public comment, which closes October 17, 2022.

Continue Reading New Federal Report on Microfiber Pollution Spotlights Textile and Fashion Industries

The FTC had a lighter week following Labor Day as the Commission hosted a public forum on its proposed rulemaking on commercial surveillance and lax data security practices. A D.C. federal court judge handed the FTC a victory when it denied a request from Facebook to turn over the FTC’s analysis of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. The Commission ended the week by announcing its agenda for an open commission meeting scheduled for September 15. This story and more after the jump. 

Continue Reading FTC Updates (September 5-9, 2022)