Trademark use in big game advertising, FTC takes DeVry University to school, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

4 min


Don't Fumble Big Game Advertising

This weekend, tens of millions of viewers will tune in for what is arguably television advertising's biggest day of the year, write Venable attorneys Melissa Landau Steinman and Michael S. Isselin in a recent post to Venable's advertising blog. Brands could almost be forgiven for forgetting that the real draw is pro football's biggest game. But the National Football League (NFL), like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) with March Madness® and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the Olympics, vigorously enforces its trademark rights, policing infringing uses of its trademarks and any attempt by marketers to imply false affiliation with these events. Marketers considering ad campaigns or promotions that use any of the trademarks associated with these events without first obtaining the proper permissions should proceed with extreme caution.

Read the full text of the blog post to learn how "big game" trademark owners police their IP rights and how brands comply with those entities' advertising guidelines.

Time for Your Annual Advertising Checkup

It is a safe bet you don't enjoy your regular medical checkups. They are inconvenient and uncomfortable, and once you hit a certain age, the odds of receiving post-checkup bad news increase. If you're marketing directly to consumers, writes Venable partner Gregory J. Sater in the January/February issue of Electronic Retailer magazine, you can't afford to skip your advertising's annual legal checkup. While there is no guarantee the results will be painless, you can be sure it will not require you to don one of those hospital gowns.

Read the article to learn what areas advertisers should review annually to ensure the health of their advertising and their business.

FTC Takes For-Profit University to School

In the latest round of battles between for-profit educational institutions and federal and state regulators, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Education last week announced enforcement actions against DeVry University. Both agencies accuse the school of making false and/or unsubstantiated claims regarding the job and earning results of its graduates, writes Venable partner Leonard L. Gordon in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog.

DeVry answered by telling the FTC it would see the Commission in court, and as the recent Bayer case and other cases have illustrated, the fact that the FTC alleges a claim is unsubstantiated does not mean that a court will agree.

Read the full blog post to learn why the FTC took exception to DeVry's claims and how the school is fighting back.

With Non-Competes, California Dreamin' can be a Reality

In a recent post to Venable's Trade Secrets & Transitions blog, firm partner Richard J. Frey writes that he is often asked whether the duration of an enforceable non-compete in California is limited. The answer, if you're familiar with consumer-friendly California law, will likely surprise you.

Read Frey's blog post to learn how California law addresses non-compete duration, and how businesses can structure enforceable non-compete agreements.

Upcoming Events:

Digital Entertainment World

February 9-11 | Los Angeles, CA

DEW is a three-day conference dedicated to the monetization of digital content. The conference will provide a first-class platform for leading intellectual property rights holders from video, music, games, and publishing to access the entire digital value chain of technology and service providers, digital distributors, and device manufacturers, to build the partnerships necessary to create and monetize digital content across all significant platforms. Join Venable Partner Po Yi for a discussion of the Future of Virtual Reality on Wednesday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m. PT.

Click here to learn more about DEW and to register for the event.

Electronic Retailing Association's Great Ideas Summit

February 22-24 | Orlando, FL

The Great Ideas Summit brings together the direct-response industry's most influential leaders to hold high-powered meetings, close global deals, and develop new digital marketing strategies. Join Venable partners Randal M. Shaheen and Claudia Lewis for their Masters Series session titled "Matching Claims to the Evidence: Brainstorming with the Experts" on February 23 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Click here to learn more about the Great Ideas Summit and register for the event.

Click here to schedule a meeting with a Venable attorney during the Great Ideas Summit.

Grocery Manufacturers Association Legal Conference

February 23-25 | Rancho Mirage, CA

The GMA Legal Conference is the preeminent gathering for consumer packaged goods professionals focused exclusively on issues that affect food, beverage, and consumer product manufacturers. Top in-house counsel, defense attorneys, and regulatory experts will cover a wide array of legal topics, with an emphasis on how to protect the company brand from litigation risks and complying with government regulations.

Click here to learn more about GMA and to register for the event.