August 11, 2016

Treading carefully with Olympic trademarks, FTC weighs in on celebrity endorsements, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

4 min


This Summer, Don't Reach for the Rings

Last Friday, the largest global sporting event in the world, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, opened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For a marketer, the Olympics are an almost irresistible opportunity to build brand awareness and leverage goodwill, write Venable attorneys Jeffrey D. Knowles, Po Yi, and Jessica S. Borowick. But unless a brand is an official Olympic or national team sponsor, it should stay as far away from Olympic-related marks as possible.

Read the DRMA Voice piece to learn why companies co-opting Olympic trademarks are playing with fire (and we're not talking about the torch).

Much Ado about "Rule 40"

Last weekend, coverage of an obscure International Olympic Committee (IOC) rule exploded, thanks to a Twitter account that automatically retweeted people – including Donald Trump and the Pope – tweeting about the games and using Olympic athletes' images in tweets. To help you make sense of it all, we're rerunning a post we published about Rule 40 a couple of weeks ago.

Read the post to learn what you need to know about how wayward posts can cause problems for both athletes and brands.

Venable partner Po Yi spoke to AdWeek about Rule 40 and the IOC's strict brand guidelines. Read her comments here.

FTC Concerned Consumers Are Under the Influence

In recent days, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made clear that it will begin vigorously policing celebrity endorsements containing insufficient disclosure that the influencer was paid to post the content. One could argue that consumers are savvy enough to realize that they are being subjected to ads, write Venable attorneys Amy Ralph Mudge, Randal M. Shaheen, and Shahin O. Rothermel in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog. Arguable or not, the FTC believes otherwise.

They write that it is understandable that undisclosed influencer endorsements are on the Commission's radar – a recent survey found that one in four influencers have been asked by brands not to disclose their connection.

Read the full post to learn what the FTC is thinking, and what your brand needs to know about influencer disclosures.

Read the Ad Age article about the survey of influencers.

A Trade Secret Reckoning Looms in California

Trade secret litigators in California are familiar with California Code of Civil Procedure section 2019.210. That section requires plaintiffs to identify their alleged trade secrets with "reasonable particularity." Critically, the section requires that plaintiffs do so "before commencing discovery relating to the trade secret." This requirement has made the law an important weapon in the arsenal of lawyers defending against claims of trade secret misappropriation, writes Venable partner Thomas E. Wallerstein in a recent post to the firm's Trade Secrets and Transitions Blog.

However, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which was signed into law in May 2015, contains no such special requirement that plaintiffs identify their trade secrets. This, Wallerstein writes, has created tremendous uncertainty as California-based trade secret plaintiffs consider seeking relief and defendants ponder how best to defend such suits.

Read the blog post to learn how DTSA has altered the trade secret litigation calculus in California.

Upcoming Events:

Key Trademark and Copyright Developments around the World: Implications for Nonprofits in China, Europe, Cuba, and Beyond

A Complimentary Nonprofit Luncheon/Program and Webinar

August 17 | Venable LLP Webinar

The operations of so many U.S.-based nonprofits extend far beyond our borders these days, often all around the globe. Among other things, this means that U.S.-based nonprofits' trademarks and copyrights are being used in foreign countries where the systems and methods for protecting and licensing this intellectual property are very different from those in the United States. Join Venable partners Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, Andrew D. Price, and Justin E. Pierce as they discuss some of the latest developments in trademark and copyright law and procedures around the globe, and their impact on nonprofits. This will be an invaluable program for nonprofit executives and staff who are tasked with creating, marketing, and/or managing brands and original products worldwide.

Lead Gen Legal Responsibility and Accountability: A Sit-down

2016 LeadsCon New York Conference

August 23 | The New York Hilton Midtown, New York, NY

Venable partner Jonathan L. Pompan will moderate a panel discussion on "Lead Gen Legal Responsibility and Accountability" at the 2016 LeadsCon New York Conference. The session will focus on reviewing the use of deceptive advertisements to generate leads, deciphering how sensitive consumer data is stored and whom it is shared with, and understanding whether (and the extent to which) publishers and lead aggregators are liable for end users' legal compliance.

Electronic Retail Association's 2016 D2C Convention

September 13-15, 2016 | Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Venable is proud to sponsor the 2016 ERA D2C Convention, where innovators, marketers, and manufacturers come together to showcase the latest trends in direct response. Be sure to visit Venable in booth #715, learn more about how to ensure your business succeeds during sessions featuring Venable's Jeffrey D. Knowles and Ellen T. Berge, and mingle with our team at the Pre-Moxie Mixer on Thursday, September 15 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.