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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.

Showing 6 posts from May 2020.

COVID-19-Related Telemarketing Developments

We continue to monitor the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on telemarketing regulations. The FCC has allowed health care providers to place emergency automated calls and text messages related to COVID-19, but three states have seen new telemarketing restrictions triggered by state-of-emergency declarations. Meanwhile, California is considering changes to its telemarketing statute unrelated to the pandemic. The following summarizes these recent developments: Read More ›

SEC Brings Enforcement Actions Against Companies for Misleading COVID-19 Claims

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) filed enforcement actions on May 14, 2020, against two unrelated companies, Turbo Global Partners, Inc. (“Turbo”) and Applied BioSciences Corp. (“APPB”). The SEC charged both companies with securities fraud based on alleged materially misleading statements that the companies were offering and shipping products to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19). These actions taken by the SEC are consistent with approaches taken by other regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), with regard to misleading statements made in connection with coronavirus-related products. On the whole, regulators appear to be particularly cognizant of businesses and individuals seeking to take improper advantage of the circumstances created by the global pandemic, and as such are taking action against such companies and individuals. Read More ›

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 ›

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