Venable's precedent-setting viral video infringement case, ambiguity in federal microbead law, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

5 min


Venable Adds High-Profile IP Litigators to Growing San Francisco Office

On March 1, Venable announced that intellectual property litigator Susan E. Hollander and a team of seasoned IP professionals, including attorneys Jocelyn M. Belloni and Sharoni S. Finkelstein and two paralegals, have joined Venable's San Francisco office.

The group represents high-profile and leading brand-name clients in the technology, Internet, retail, consumer products, entertainment, finance, and healthcare industries and focuses on the prevention of genericism and brand dilution. They have been responsible for several precedent-setting trademark decisions and jury verdicts.

"Venable has a top-tier national practice and a stellar reputation in the IP community, and the opportunity to build on their presence and offerings in the Bay Area was one I couldn't pass up," said Ms. Hollander. "With leading practices in advertising and data privacy, Venable will provide immediate added value to the growing needs of my clients."

Read the press release announcing the arrival of Ms. Hollander and her team.

Venable Heads to Court in Precedent-Setting Viral Video Infringement Case

In the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Venable partners Jessica L. Grant and Tamany Vinson Bentz are in the midst of the first major copyright trial of the viral video era. At stake in this precedent-setting case are such questions as what constitutes fair use of a "viral video" and what actions copyright holders must take before beginning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown process.

Read the Hollywood Reporter's coverage of the case.


Ambiguity in Federal Microbead Law Lets Local Regulator Get Abrasive

In the increasingly national marketplace, it can be difficult for consumer products companies to deal with issues regulated at the state level, particularly if jurisdictions adopt differing and sometimes conflicting solutions to a common problem. When this happens, industry often turns to the federal government for help in creating a nationwide solution, write Venable attorneys Michelle C. Jackson and Peter S. Frechette in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog.

Recently, companies utilizing "microbeads" in products appeared to have successfully supplanted numerous state regulations via passage of uniform federal regulation, The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. The Act preempts state and local laws regarding the manufacture and sale of microbeads "that are not identical to the restrictions under [the Act] that have begun to apply . . . ."

The preemption provision lends itself to competing interpretations, and Erie County, New York has seized on that ambiguity to argue that a local law that prohibits microbeads is not preempted until at least July 2017, when the provisions of the federal law come into force.

Read the full blog post to learn more about the preemption battle over microbeads and what it could mean for other consumer products.

Fibbing on FTC Financial Disclosures? You Don't Have a Snowball's Chance…

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) frequently settles its cases through suspended judgments, where the full amount of the judgment is suspended based on the defendant's ability to pay, writes Venable partner Leonard L. Gordon in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog. When facing the FTC's rigorous financial disclosure process that determines a defendant's ability to pay, the temptation to be less than forthright can be a strong one. As a recent case illustrates, Gordon writes, that is a horrible idea.

Read the full blog post to learn what can happen when defendants do not fully disclose their finances.

Upcoming Events:

Merchants Acquirers' Committee Annual Conference 2016

March 8-10 | Las Vegas, NV

MAC is the only annual meeting in the United States dedicated exclusively 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.

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

2016 ACA Spring Forum Welcome Reception

March 9 | Las Vegas, NV

Join Venable for a Welcome Reception during the ACA International Spring Forum and Expo. Meet Venable attorneys Jonathan Pompan and Andrew Bigart and other industry colleagues from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Click here for directions.

Click here to learn more about ACA and to register to attend.

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.

Click here to learn more and to register for the webinar.

LeadsCon Las Vegas

March 15-17| Las Vegas, NV

As digital marketing continues to evolve, the lead gen landscape has become tougher to navigate as buyers and sellers operate in the space. With the CFPB, FTC, and states attorney generals evaluating the actions of a few and privacy advocates pushing for tighter controls, how do you safely navigate these waters to ensure transparency, align yourself with trusted partners, and steer clear of regulatory enforcement? Hear from Venable's Alexandra Megaris, who will discuss "Navigating Consumer Protection, Complaints and Regulatory Oversight" on March 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. at LeadsCon Las Vegas.

Click here to learn more about LeadsCon and to register to attend.