October 25, 2013

LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer Case over Misleading Advertising Heads to Trial – When is “Free” Really “Free”?

Last week, a federal judge in California declined to grant a summary judgment motion to LegalZoom.com, Inc., in its lawsuit accusing rival Rocket Lawyer, Inc. over claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false and misleading advertising that focus on the use of the word “free” in advertisements by Rocket Lawyer. LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer… Read More

October 11, 2013

FTC Takes Tough Action Against ‘Scareware’ Tactics

A great way to make money is to develop a product or service that responds to a consumer want or demand, and then to stay ahead of prospective competitors by offering better pricing or quality. A not-so-great way to make money is to convince consumers to buy a product or service that they don’t really… Read More

September 16, 2013

Appeals Court Rules TCPA Does Not Violate First Amendment

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently ruled that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) does not violate the First Amendment by requiring robocallers to identify themselves when making calls. Three months before the Maryland gubernatorial election in 2010, political consultant Julius Henson and his company Universal Elections, Inc., were hired to… Read More

June 30, 2013

FTC to Search Engines: Distinguish Paid Search Results or Risk FTC Action

While Google is already subject to commitments it made to the FTC regarding the requirement to afford advertisers non-discriminatory access to its search engine, the FTC’s latest guidance makes clear that Google and other search engines must also maintain clear disclosures to the public about sponsored content in search results. On June 24, 2013, in… Read More

June 28, 2013

CFPB Takes Action Against ‘Abusive’ Acts by Debt-Relief Company

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog agency of the financial industry, has proved that it has considerable bite. Created under the Dodd-Frank act to fill gaps in regulatory coverage, the CFPB’s mandate is to enforce federal regulations that, among other things, restrict “unfair deceptive or abusive acts or practices” in consumer finance. The… Read More

April 23, 2013

A Q&A With Jeff Ifrah on the FTC’s Latest Draconian Tactics

Some lawyers who deal regularly with the Federal Trade Commission in investigations of allegedly false and deceptive online advertising have noticed that the agency is beginning to take steps in these investigations that are unprecedented and draconian – and that judges seem to be going along. Below is a set of questions and answers with… Read More

March 15, 2013

FTC Revises Online Advertising Disclosure Guidelines: Say It and Say It Clearly

This week, the FTC released updated guidance to its 2000 “Dot Com Disclosures,” a guide covering disclosures in online advertising. The online world has certainly changed in 13 years, and the new guidelines, available here, cover advances in online advertising, including mobile advertising. One central theme still prevails: existing consumer protection laws and rules apply no… Read More

February 27, 2013

FTC Remains Tough on ‘Robocalls’ with New Enforcement Case

Once again, the FTC has completed a major enforcement action against the illegal use of robocalls, a form of prerecorded, computerized telemarketing calls. This time, the action resulted in a $1.1 million civil penalty against Roy M. Cox, an individual whom the FTC considered to be the architect of an illegal robocall operation. The FTC… Read More

December 13, 2012

FTC Report Faults App Developers on Data Collection From Kids

The Federal Trade Commission released a report on December 10, 2012, that concluded that mobile apps targeted at children were collecting large amounts of data from children and sharing their information with advertisers without disclosing their practices. The FTC report examined 400 leading apps designed for kids that were sold in the mobile stores run… Read More