Federal Trade Commission

If You Make Any Environmental Claims About Or Use Certification Marks on Products or for Services…The FTC has News for You.

On October 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission issued its revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, known as the “Green Guides.” The purpose of the Guides is to help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that may be perceived as deceptive or unfair under Section 5 of the FTC Act. The Guides do not confer any rights on any person and they do not bind the FTC or the public. The FTC does have the right to take action under the FTC Act if an environmental claim is made that is inconsistent with the Guides. They do not preempt federal, state, or local laws, and compliance with those laws does not preclude an action by the FTC. As stated therein, the Guides apply to “claims about the environmental attributes of a product, package, or service in connection with the marketing, offering for sale, or sale of such item or service to individuals… and also apply to business-to-business transactions.” The “claims” include those made in labeling, advertising, promotional materials, and all other forms of marketing in any medium, whether asserted directly or by implication, by words, symbols, logos, depictions, product brand names, or any other means. Continue Reading FTC Revises “Green Guides”

ICANN will start accepting applications for new gTLDs on January 12, 2012.  But not before further public opposition to the program builds.  Most recently, the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and a host of other intergovernmental organizations (“IGOs”) have joined the growing list of opponents to ICANN’s new program.  A recent letter sent to ICANN on behalf of the IGO community indicates that their concerns “relate to the increased potential for the misleading registration and use of IGO names and acronyms in the domain name system under ICANN’s significant expansion plans.”  This is the latest in a rising wave of opposition to the rollout of the new gTLD program.  In early December, the FTC Chairman told the House Judiciary Committee that this program could be a “disaster.” The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation subsequently suggested that ICANN to scale back the gTLD program or postpone the launch to 2013.

As part of the application process, ICANN will publicize a list of those applying for a top-level domain, thereby eliminating proxies, and will allow third-parties to file formal objections to such applications.  Critics, however, remain skeptical that such measures will be sufficient to combat the risk of cybersquatting and fraud that the new gTLD program potentially poses.