The looming deadline for BPA content warnings, the trade secrets sanctions game, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

4 min


May 12 Deadline for BPA Content Prop 65 Warnings Looms

Marketers of consumer products, including foods, beverages, dietary supplements, OTC drugs, and cosmetics, should be evaluating their products, including product packaging, for the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) without delay, write Venable attorneys Todd A. Harrison, Michelle Jackson, Claudia A. Lewis, and Matthew S. Poliner in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog. That is because on May 12, 2016, the one-year grace period permitted by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) ends, and companies whose products expose California consumers to BPA must provide a Proposition 65 (Prop 65) reproductive toxicity warning to those consumers.

Because California has not yet established a maximum allowable dose level (MADL) or a safe harbor level for BPA, any product that exposes consumers to any amount of BPA must carry a warning. In addition, they write, it is common to see a flood of notices of violation and subsequent lawsuits at the end of the twelve-month grace period for newly listed chemicals.

Read the full blog post to learn how you should prepare for the May 12 deadline.

New York AG Targets "Deceptive" Online Endorsements

On February 11, 2016, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced four independent settlements related to the use of allegedly deceptive online testimonials and reviews. These cases, write Venable partners Amy Ralph Mudge and Randal M. Shaheen in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog, reflect the continuing concern of the New York AG's office over so-called "astroturfing" (the posting of fake or otherwise biased reviews).

Read the full blog post to learn how to avoid the types of practices that triggered the New York enforcement actions.

The Trade Secrets Sanctions Game

Although he hasn't crunched the numbers, Venable partner Douglas B. Mishkin is willing to bet that sanctions – a judicial order that one side pay the other side's attorneys' fees and/or expenses, among other things – are awarded more frequently in employee-theft-of-trade-secret cases than in most other kinds of cases.

In a recent post to the firm's Trade Secrets and Transitions blog, Mishkin writes that he believes this happens so frequently because of the nature of the cases. If an employee's former employer alleges theft of its intellectual property, it will demand that you and your employee identify and produce all of that company's files that you or the employee possesses. When you or the employee-defendant fails to do so, as often happens, the journey down the road to sanctions begins.

Read the full post to learn how two recent trade secret litigations illustrate this point and provide insights into the steps defendant companies can take to avoid the sanctions trap.


Upcoming Events:

Merchants Acquirers' Committee Annual Conference 2016

March 8-10 | Las Vegas, NV

MAC is the only annual meeting in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to educating individuals responsible for risk mitigation and regulatory compliance. Attendees will hear professionals discuss ways to manage and mitigate portfolio risk by leveraging the proper technology, techniques, and industry-shared best practices. Venable's Managing Director of Cybersecurity Services, Ari Schwartz, will give the keynote address on Cybersecurity issues on Tuesday, March 8, and Venable partner Ellen Berge will moderate a panel on cybersecurity in the post-Wyndham world.

Natural Products Expo West/Engredea 2016

March 9-13 | Anaheim, CA

Natural Products Expo West/Engredea 2016 is where new products turn into record profits, relationship building and ROI are always high, and brand awareness builds momentum with each better business practice. Over 3,000 exhibits from over 1,800 different companies showcase their newest products in natural and specialty foods, organic, health and beauty, natural living, supplements, and pet products. Venable attorneys Todd Harrison, Claudia Lewis, and Erik Jones will lead a panel discussion on "State Enforcement and the Dietary Supplement Industry: What You Need to Know" on Friday, March 11, 2016, 1:30 - 2:30 pm PT at the Marriott, Platinum Ballroom 1. Visit Venable at Booth #405.

Webinar: "The $20 Million Trade Secret: What Employers Must Know About Protecting Critical Company Information" for the Clear Law Institute

March 15 | 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm EST

Join Venable's Douglas B. Mishkin and Douglas C. Proxmire to learn how to protect your company's trade secrets and avoid misappropriating others' secrets. You'll get the inside scoop on the 42-day trial that secured a judgment of $20 million plus sanctions on behalf of a client.