Second Circuit Clarifies the Use of Legal Presumptions of Consumer Confusion and Injury in Certain Lanham Act Cases

On Tuesday, July 29, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit “clarified certain aspects of [its] false advertising jurisprudence” and held that, where literal falsity and deliberate deception have been proved in a market with only two players, it is appropriate to use legal presumptions of consumer confusion and injury for the purposes of finding liability in a false advertising case brought under the Lanham Act.[1]

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False Advertising and Antitrust Law: Sometimes the Twain Should Meet

Imagine that a drug manufacturer figured out how to compete with a blockbuster drug by making a cheaper and more effective alternative. The pharmaceutical company that makes the blockbuster drug starts flooding the market with false advertisements about the safety of the alternative drug before it is even available to consumers, effectively taking away the new drug’s ability to compete. In this hypothetical, there are two potential victims: the new manufacturer that could have competed on the merits and the consumers (and possibly third-party payors) that lost the ability to choose a potentially better product or benefit from the price decrease of the blockbuster drug. Should antitrust law remedy this situation?

This article was originally published by CPI Antitrust Chronicle. To read the entire article, please click here.

Rash California Minors Get An Online “Eraser Button”

We’ve all done it: typed or tapped out a message, posted it online, and immediately wished we hadn’t and that we could just erase it from the Internet forever. Now, if you are a California minor, you can. Sort of.

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law S.B. 568, the first bill of its kind in the nation. S.B. 568 enacts two new statutes under the title “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World.” The first, Business and Professions Code section 22580, prohibits advertising certain products to minors online (see blog post here).  The second, Business and Professions Code section 22581, requires businesses to provide an online “eraser button” for remorseful minors.

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Products or Services That Cannot Be Sold To California Minors Cannot Be Advertised To Them Online, Either

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law S.B. 568, the first bill of its kind in the nation. S.B. 568 enacts two new statutes under the title “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World.” The first, Business and Professions Code section 22580, prohibits advertising certain products to minors online. The second, Business and Professions Code section 22581, requires businesses to provide an online “eraser button” for remorseful minors (see blog post here).

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California Enacts New Data Privacy Laws

As part of a flurry of new privacy legislation, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two new data privacy bills into law on September 27, 2013: S.B. 46 amending California’s data security breach notification law and A.B. 370 regarding disclosure of “do not track” and other tracking practices in online privacy policies. Both laws will come into effect on January 1, 2014.

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California Online Tracking Disclosure Bill Heads to Governor for Signature

Many companies operating commercial websites and online services will likely need to update their privacy policies soon to comply with new requirements in California. After passing the Assembly and the Senate in a series of unanimous votes, A.B. 370 is now before the Governor for signature, which is expected soon.

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Ninth Circuit Fumbles The Ball In Videogame Likeness Cases

Edited by Ben Mulcahy

A longer version of this article was recently published by Bloomberg BNA.

Creating a new rule that gives videogames much more limited protection than other expressive works, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that realistically depicting college athletes in videogames showing them doing what they became famous for doing—in this case, playing football—is not sufficiently transformative to avoid a state law right of publicity claim. In In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation (Keller), 2013 WL 3928293 (9th Cir. July 31, 2013), the court held that Keller, a former college athlete prohibited by NCAA rules from commercializing his name and likeness rights, could pursue a right of publicity claim based on the use of his likeness in a football videogame—a work admittedly protected by the First Amendment—despite the game producer’s assertion of First Amendment defenses. This decision, following on the heels of the May 21, 2013 opinion in Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc., 717 F.3d 141 (3rd Cir. 2013), which was heavily relied on by the Keller decision, as well as its re-interpretation of precedent in the right of publicity area that had up-to-now been considered well-established, are sure to have unintended consequences extending to branded entertainment and other hybrid contexts where brand messages and creative expression combine.

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Was AdChoices Just Flipped the (Twitter)Bird on Behavioral Targeting?

It appears that users won’t be seeing the blue AdChoices triangle icon on Twitter anytime soon. AdChoices and its blue triangle icon are the work of the Digital Advertising Alliance (a consortium of trade groups) to provide users with disclosure of and the ability to opt out of targeted behavioral advertising (e.g. ads based on websites visited). This industry self-regulatory option was intended to be a broad and unifying option to stave off governmental regulation.

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FTC Updates COPPA FAQs

Following up on the new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule that went into effect on July 1, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission has released an updated set of FAQs to provide additional clarity and information about the new Rule. Notably, the FAQs provide further guidance on COPPA’s “actual knowledge” standard as well as regarding the newly added and revised categories of personal information included in the new Rule.

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‘Do Not Call’ Violations Lead to $7.5 Million Civil Penalty

On Thursday, June 27, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that Mortgage Investors Corporation of Ohio, Inc. (“Mortgage Investors”) will pay a $7.5 million civil penalty for alleged violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”). This settlement marks the largest fine that the FTC has ever collected for TSR violations and cleverly coincides with the 10th Anniversary of the National Do Not Call Registry.

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