October 21, 2021

Advertising Law News and Analysis

2 min

You Asked, We Answered – Consumer Product Safety and Warranties

With the complexity of product safety requirements, the changing regulatory environment, and the ferocious plaintiffs' bar, it is more important than ever for importers, manufacturers, and retailers to understand their obligation to comply with product safety laws and standards. In this recent webinar, Melissa L. Steinman, a partner in Venable's Advertising and Marketing practice, explored current developments in product safety and warranty laws and examined common issues and pitfalls that organizations need to be aware of relating to product standards and safety. She also addressed some follow-up questions.

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Competitor, But Protests May Be Protected

The first rule of comparative advertising has always been that you can say pretty much whatever you want, as long as you don't lie. But there is a new wrinkle—don't threaten or stalk the competition. A recent Ninth Circuit decision in Thunder Studios v. Kazal has shed new light on the extent of protection afforded by the First Amendment to reprehensible and confrontational speech. The case is quirky in that the individuals protected by the First Amendment were not U.S. citizens and were not themselves in the United States when the "protests" occurred, but the case is a cautionary tale as to the limits of First Amendment protection of comparative claims.

FTC "Blankets Industry" with Notice of Penalty Offenses Concerning Deceptive Reviews and Endorsements

Just days after the FTC announced that it was resurrecting its Penalty Offense Authority to crack down on for-profit higher education institutions' false promises about graduates' career opportunities and earnings prospects, the FTC is invoking this authority to "blanket[] industry with a clear message" about fake online reviews and other deceptive endorsements.

FTC Invokes Penalty Offense Authority to Crack Down on For-Profit Education Industry

In the latest example of its creative use of different enforcement tools to obtain monetary relief in the wake of the Supreme Court's AMG opinion, the FTC has resurrected a dormant authority to hold companies accountable, via significant financial penalties, for unfair and deceptive business practices.