Recently, NJOY LLC filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against more than 30 foreign and domestic defendants that manufacture, market, distribute, and sell tobacco products in an (indirect) effort to force them to comply with federal and state laws. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company (collectively, RJR) also recently filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against more than 25 foreign and domestic manufacturers, distributors, and retailers (collectively, the respondents) that seeks to prevent the import and resale of certain tobacco products. These lawsuits serve as two examples of how industry is trying to take independent legal action to target allegedly noncompliant actors and force them to comply with applicable law.
On September 8, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell issued an initial decision ruling that Intuit Inc. (Intuit) “engaged in deceptive advertising in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act” by misleading consumers with its “free” service claims. In the decision, which is subject to appeal to the full commission, Judge Chappell found that Intuit deceptively marketed TurboTax, its online tax preparation filing software, “when it ran ads for ‘free’ tax products and services for which many consumers were ineligible.”Continue Reading FTC Judge Rules That Intuit’s “Free” Service Ads Violated the FTC Act
A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general (AGs) representing each state and Washington D.C. joined forces with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). They have announced their unified commitment to an initiative known as ‘Operation Stop Scam Calls,’ which has already made a significant impact. Illinois AG Kwame Raoul — a fervent advocate for consumer rights — underscored this commitment, saying, “[c]ompanies responsible for these illegal, annoying calls must be held accountable.”Continue Reading Bipartisan Coalition Targets Billion-Dollar Illegal Telemarketing Industry
The New York and Pennsylvania state attorneys general recently led a bipartisan coalition of 26 state AGs in a letter, supporting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s proposed rule amending the Negative Option Rule.Continue Reading Bipartisan State AGs Support FTC’s Amendments to Negative Option Rule
On June 8, more than 50 members of Congress signed a letter addressed to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, expressing concerns over FDA’s delays in reviewing pending Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTAs) and its failure to remove unauthorized products from the market. The letter strongly urges “FDA to (1) expeditiously complete review of remaining e-cigarette PMTAs; (2) follow the science on the risks flavored [e-cigarettes] pose to youth and deny PMTAs for all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol flavored products; and (3) increase enforcement actions against companies that make, distribute, and sell flavored products without a marketing order, especially products with a significant market share, or products that are most popular with youth.” The letter also requests that FDA respond to several questions by June 23, as summarized below (as of the date of this blog post, we are not aware of any FDA response).Continue Reading Congress Urges FDA to Complete Its Review of E-Cigarette Applications
On June 8, a bipartisan coalition of 28 attorneys general issued a letter, supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to close a “loophole” that currently allows lead generators to collect and sell personal consumer information to third parties using a “single consumer consent,” typically leading to multiple consumer solicitations (telemarketing calls and/or texts) beyond the scope of the original consent. At present, lead generators commonly will offer quotes for goods or services stipulated on receiving consent to share the consumers’ personal information with their “marketing partners” — aka third-party solicitors.Continue Reading Twenty-Eight AGs Call for Stricter FCC Spam Call and Text Rules
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently amended requirements concerning artificial or prerecorded voice calls, effective July 20. See Proposed 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200. Notably, the FCC amended requirements concerning prerecorded noncommercial and nontelemarketing commercial calls by (1) placing a cap on the number of calls to up to three calls within a consecutive 30-day period, unless the caller has obtained prior express consent, and (2) requiring callers to provide specific opt-out mechanisms.Continue Reading New FCC Requirements for Prerecorded Voice Calls Effective July 20: Is Your Company Prepared to Comply?
U.S.-based international trade group Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI) recently filed a lawsuit against global online marketplace Etsy, Inc. in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts for allegedly advertising and marketing third-party counterfeit cashmere products through its platform. CCMI claimed Etsy violated the Lanham Act; Massachusetts’ false advertising law; common law prohibitions on unfair competition; and Massachusetts’ Anti-Dilution Statute. CCMI also brought a novel civil claim that Etsy conspired with the fake cashmere suppliers.Continue Reading Etsy Targeted Over Sale of Counterfeit Products
On August 2, 2021 and March 3, 2022 we reported on Executive Order 14036 (E.O. 14036) and the subsequent Treasury report entitled, “Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits” (Report), which, among other things, directed the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to consider: (1) initiating a rulemaking to…
In a recent press release, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its second e-cigarette report, analyzing domestic sales and marketing trends for the years 2019 and 2020. While FTC has issued a similar report for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products since 1967 and 1987, respectively, it only recently decided to analyze this type…