Trademark and copyright guidance for publishers, FTC wins first jury verdict, and more in this edition of Advertising Law News & Analysis

3 min


Practical Trademark and Copyright Guidance for Publishers

If you are a digital or print publisher and treat the terms "trademark" and "copyright" as interchangeable when you manage your intellectual property, you are likely making potentially costly mistakes, and you are not alone. Trademarks and copyrights are publishing and media companies' key assets. However, writes Venable attorney Linda J. Zirkelbach in a recent white paper, the rules of the road are often misunderstood or overlooked. She goes on to share 11 tips that can help publishers generate tremendous value and avoid costly disputes.

Read her analysis to learn what you may be doing wrong, and how to deal with your trademark and copyright issues.

FTC Wins First Jury Verdict in Telemarketing Case

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—or, more accurately, the Department of Justice acting on behalf of the FTC—recently won a jury verdict in a case challenging a variety of telemarketing activities by three Utah-based firms and their owner. The jury found that the defendants made more than 117 million calls violating different provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The case provides useful insight into the different options available to the FTC in challenging conduct and highlights the significant risks involved when telemarketing is found to violate the TSR, writes Venable partner Leonard L. Gordon in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog.

In most FTC cases, a jury trial is not an option because the Commission is not usually able to seek civil penalties. However, cases involving alleged rule violations, such as a violation of the TSR, give the FTC two enforcement options. It can proceed under Section 13(b) on its own behalf, seeking injunctive and equitable monetary relief; or it can seek injunctive relief as well as civil penalties. Because the FTC lacks the authority to seek civil penalties directly, it must then refer the matter to the DOJ to litigate. In addition, seeking civil penalties triggers a defendant's Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury.

Read Gordon's full blog post to learn what comes next, now that the FTC has notched up a TSR win in the courts.

Read the FTC's press release about the jury's verdict.

FTC Casts a Wary Eye on Marketplace Lending

Technology-enabled financial services, commonly called "FinTech," are a hot topic for government regulators these days, and the FTC is no exception. Earlier this month, the Commission kicked off a series of workshops focused on FinTech and consumer protection with a half-day discussion of marketplace lending and its implications for consumers. The forum came hot on the heels of the Treasury Department's white paper on marketplace and online lending, and outreach to industry participants by California and New York financial services regulators.

Although it is difficult to forecast specific actions, the FTC's explicit interest in a number of key areas of compliance made it clear that the FTC is thinking about, and watching, how online lenders interact with consumers, Amy Ralph Mudge, Jonathan L. Pompan, Andrew E. Bigart in a recent post to the firm's Advertising Law Blog.

Read the full blog post to learn which aspects of marketplace lending appeared to interest the FTC most.

Visit the FTC's landing page for the event to read the Commission's press release and view the agenda.

Upcoming Event:

Food Marketing Institute 2016 Legal Conference

June 19-21 | Chicago, IL

Designed for the legal leadership of the retail and wholesale food industries, the Food Marketing Institute's Legal Conference will bring together general counsel, corporate counsel, and other corporate executives involved with legal issues. Join Venable's Randal M. Shaheen as he discusses "Recent Trends in Food Litigation and Labeling" on June 20 at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.

Click here to register and learn more.