I. Introduction

In recent news it was reported that Ikea, a globally well-known furniture company, sent a cease and desist letter to the gaming studio Ziggy following the announced release by the latter of a video game called “The store is closed”. The video game is still in development, but it has been characterized as a survival horror game set in an Ikea-like furniture store called “STYR”. The idea of the video game is to explore, craft weapons, build fortifications and try to survive the night in the furniture store.

Although the video game is unreleased, Ikea discovered that the gaming studio Ziggy was raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign. In total Ziggy was able to already raise several tens of thousands of dollars in a short period of time. From its discovery, Ikea immediately sent a cease and desist letter demanding certain changes as the “game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical stiped shirts identical to those worn by IKEA personnel, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage. All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an IKEA store”.

Continue Reading Ikea’s Battle Against Horror Games: The Importance of Intellectual Property Rights

The FTC hosted an online privacy seminar that brought together researchers, academics, and industry representatives to discuss trends related to consumer privacy and data security. The agency announced a lawsuit against an education technology provider for allegedly lax data security practices that exposed sensitive information about millions of customers and employees. The agency also announced a settlement with a major telecommunications company over alleged junk fees and dark pattern practices. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (October 31 – November 4, 2022)

It’s rulemaking week at the FTC, particularly within the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The agency announced multiple Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for public comment in connection with its October 20, 2022 Open Commission meeting. These Notices and other FTC reports this week touch on fake reviews, illegal fees, protecting older consumers, right-to-repair issues, energy costs, and even funeral services. FTC Commissioners issued a joint statement responding to allegations that its staff traded stocks and funds more than those at any other major agency, while FTC Chair Lina Khan and Department of Justice Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Johnathan Kantor met with European competition officials on regulating digital markets. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (October 10-21, 2022)

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

The FTC has been aggressive wrapping up the fiscal year before the Labor Day weekend—it initiated several actions across various industries, protecting consumers from sensitive data leak to deceptive “pre-approved” credit offers. The Commission also issued its E-Cigarette Report for 2019-2020, which highlights dramatic surge in sale of flavored disposable e-cigarettes and menthol e-cigarette cartridges. Last but not the least, the FTC is sending checks totaling more than $1.9 million to consumers who bought Hubble brand contact lenses from Vision Path, Inc. This story and more after the jump. 

Continue Reading FTC Updates (August 29-September 2, 2022)

The FTC released its policy paper and fact sheet urging state legislatures to avoid using Certificate of Public Advantage (“COPA”) laws and instead invited state lawmakers to work collaboratively with competition policy experts to minimize the potentially harmful effects of further hospital consolidation. This follows that Agency’s recent blocking of a number of healthcare provider mergers, emphasizing the Commission’s focus on preventing what it considers anticompetitive hospital mergers. The Agency also announced that it will be sending out checks totaling more than $822,000 to borrowers that lost money to a student loan debt-relief scheme. These stories after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (August 15-19, 2022)

The FTC unveiled its Proposed Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security. The Commission relied on the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act and the Made in USA Labeling Rule to refer a complaint against personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and light fixture manufacturers. The case marks the second time the FTC has used the Made in the USA Labeling Rule to target companies for allegedly deceptive claims. Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya spoke at the National Association of Attorneys General Presidential Summit on technology threats to consumer protection. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (August 8-12, 2022)