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Advertising Law Blog

The Advertising Law Blog provides commentary and news on developing legal issues in advertising, promotional marketing, Internet, and privacy law. This blog is sponsored by the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions group at Olshan. The practice is geared to servicing the needs of the advertising, promotional marketing, and digital industries with a commitment to providing personal, efficient and effective legal service.

NAD Announces Fast-Track SWIFT Challenge Process

To expedite advertising challenges on discrete issues, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau has launched a new fast-track process.  The new process will resolve eligible matters within 20 business days from initiation of the challenge. Read More ›

Andrew Lustigman Quoted in Bloomberg Law on DOJ’s, FTC’s and FDA’s Attack on Coronavirus Fraudsters

Andrew Lustigman, head of Olshan’s Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group, was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article on the coordinated attack on coronavirus scams led by The Justice Department (“DOJ”), the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), and the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). All three agencies have filed charges against and have sent warning letters to people and companies for advertising unapproved COVID-19 treatments or preventatives. Given the import that these efforts have to public health during the pandemic, the agencies’ attention is intensely focused on preventing coronavirus fraud, so while the DOJ is investigating a wide range of fraudulent activity, the FTC and the FDA are evaluating false claims about treatments and cures. “That intensity is shown by how quickly the agencies are taking cases to court and asking for orders to stop the fraudsters,” said Mr. Lustigman. Wasting no time, the DOJ has filed at least four civil lawsuits against people allegedly selling fraudulent cures/treatments, obtaining temporary restraining orders against three of the defendants. The FTC and FDA, meanwhile, have sent warning letters both to sellers of unapproved treatments and to multi-level marketing companies for unsubstantiated claims made by their independent distributors.

3M Alleges Trademark Infringement in Lawsuits Against Unauthorized Resellers of N95 Masks

Multinational corporation, 3M Company (“3M”), has filed a string of lawsuits alleging trademark infringement against distributors of its 3M-branded N95 respirator masks. N95 respirator masks have become crucial in the fight against COVID-19. 3M has supplied healthcare workers and other first responders with 3M-branded N95 respirators. 3M’s recent lawsuits target false and deceptive price-gouging on the part of unauthorized third-party distributors, seeking to take advantage of the heightened demand for N95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, these lawsuits do not allege that the defendants are selling counterfeit products. Instead, 3M alleges that the defendants, unauthorized resellers, are implying a direct relationship with 3M when selling 3M-branded products at inflated prices. Read More ›

Supreme Court Rules Willfulness Not Required For Disgorgement of Trademark Infringement Profits

Resolving a circuit split, the Supreme Court (the “Court”) has held that willfulness is not a precondition for disgorgement of an infringer’s profits from the infringement in a trademark infringement case. In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., the Court considered willfulness as but one of the factors that may be considered in deciding whether or not to award an infringer’s profits to a trademark holder, rejecting the premise that a showing of willfulness is required before an infringer’s profits may be awarded. Read More ›

Reese Witherspoon’s Clothing Company Receives Backlash for Changing Rules in Teacher Appreciation Dress Giveaway for Covid-19

In 2017, California-based clothing company, Sunny Co. Clothing, posted a photo to its Instagram account displaying a model wearing Sunny Co. Clothing’s “Pamela” red, full-piece bathing suit. The caption stated that every person who reposts the image tagging Sunny Co. Clothing “will receive a FREE Pamela Sunny Suit.” Sunny Co. Clothing failed to set a maximum on the number of swimsuits available for the promotion. The post quickly went viral and Sunny Co. Clothing found itself in the undesirable position of not being able to fulfil its promotional obligations as it simply did not have enough swimsuits to meet the demand. Sunny Co. Clothing publicly learned the importance of having complete and conspicuously disclosed contest rules for social media giveaways. Reese Witherspoon’s fashion label, Draper James, is now learning the same lesson several years later. Read More ›

Fashion Nova Reaches $9.3 million Settlement with the FTC Over Charges of Violating Shipping and Returns Rules

Online fast fashion retailer, Fashion Nova, has agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle FTC charges that it failed to properly notify consumers and give them a chance to cancel their orders that were not shipped in a timely manner. The FTC also alleged that Fashion Nova used gift cards to compensate consumers for unshipped merchandise instead of providing refunds, as required.  Read More ›

FTC Reaches $15 Million Settlement With Tea and Skincare Company For Failing To Adequately Disclose Material Connections To Endorsers

The FTC has reached a settlement with Teami, LLC (“Teami”), a tea and skincare company that allegedly used deceptive health claims and a bevy of undisclosed social media influencer endorsements to promote its products. This settlement, comprised in part of a significant monetary judgment, comes on the heels of the FTC seeking public comment on its Endorsement Guides in light of the changing social media advertising landscape. The FTC’s recent policy and enforcement actions seem focused on online influencer advertising campaigns. Read More ›

Andrew Lustigman, Mary Grieco and Morgan Spina Contribute Chapter in OneTrust DataGuidance

Advertising, Marketing & Promotions partner Andrew Lustigman, Intellectual Property partner Mary Grieco and associate Morgan Spina authored a chapter entitled, “USA – Cookies & Similar Technologies” in a recent publication included in the prestigious OneTrust DataGuidance (subscription required).  The chapter covers the current laws and information regarding the use of cookies and third parties on the Internet. 

Vermont Updates Privacy Law, Including Revisions to Automatic Renewal Online Cancellation Provisions

Vermont, which already has one of the most unique automatic renewal laws on the books, has further increased the compliance obligations for sellers utilizing continuity arrangements. On March 5, 2020, Governor Phil Scott signed Vermont Senate Bill 110 into effect. This new law primarily tackles issues surrounding privacy, but also updates Vermont’s automatic renewal provisions to bring cancellation of consumer contracts in line with California’s online requirements. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2020. Read More ›

FDA and FTC Send Warning Letters to Companies Claiming That Products Can Help Boost Immune Systems Relating to Coronavirus Prevention

The FDA and FTC have issued joint warning letters to companies selling products that they claim are able to treat or prevent coronavirus. The regulators sent the first set of such warning letters to several companies on March 6, 2020 and have continued to send such warning letters since. Read More ›

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