Federal Trade Commission and Deceptive Advertising Primer

March 11, 2015 9:00am

Rodrick J. Enns
Enns & Archer LLP

Steven Richter
Founder and Principal
Steve Richter Law

In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made a decided shift from education to enforcement. New and old advertising mediums are facing increased scrutiny. This session will provide an overview of the FTC’s structure and mission, summarize key regulatory guidelines, and address the available remedies and enforcement provisions available to the FTC.

  • Introduction to the FTC
    • Describing its creation—when and why was it created?
    • Discussing the FTC’s mission
    • Summarizing legislative revisions to the FTC’s authority over the years
    • Outlining the FTC’s current structure and scope of authority
    • Understanding the overlap between FTC and other governmental bodies’ authority (e.g., the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Justice, and States’ Attorneys General)
  • Outlining the stages of an FTC investigation and enforcement proceedings
  • Summarizing key concepts relating to “deceptive advertising”
    • Content, context, and materiality
    • Unfair practices
    • Express versus implied
    • Claim substantiation
    • Disclosures and disclaimers
    • “Reasonable consumer” standard
  • Identifying and summarizing key FTC guidelines governing, e.g.:
    • Disclosures and disclaimers
    • Endorsements and testimonials
    • Claim substantiation
    • Digital advertising
    • Labeling
    • “Green” products
  • Discussing the remedies available to the FTC
    • Cease and desist orders
    • Corrective measures (advertisements, disclosures, etc.)
    • Civil penalties
  • Addressing the FTC’s post-remedial enforcement powers
    • Monitoring compliance with remedial orders
    • Examining the consequences for inaccurate financial disclosures—civil penalties and referral to the DOJ for criminal proceedings