In Part 1 of this blog series on digital advertising, we canvassed the disclosure rules in light of the recent the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recent publication, “.com Disclosures, How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”. In Part 2 of this blog series, we will set out some tips and guidelines to assist businesses in complying with the disclosure rules and avoid falling afoul the FTC.
Entities conducting business online in the U.S. ought to consider whether its advertising meets these guidelines:
- Prominent and Unavoidable: Disclosure should be at least as large as the related claim and should be in a colour that contrasts with the background. In some cases, graphics may help make the disclosure more prominent. Keep in mind that viewers will see the advertisement on a variety of devices, so websites should either be designed so that the disclosure is clear and conspicuous regardless of the type of device, or a mobile-specific website could be created. Continue Reading
Whether this is your first time enforcing your Canadian patent, or you’re a frequent flyer in the Canadian courts, it is important to cover your bases before firing off a claim. Prudent planning will help to ensure that legal and financial resources are deployed efficiently. Although not exhaustive, here are the top 5 things to consider before issuing your statement of claim.
- In what jurisdiction should the lawsuit be pursued? The plaintiff can choose between the Federal Court and the provincial courts. Each has unique rules. Consider where best to commence the action. For example, summary judgment might be easier to obtain in Ontario with its relatively robust and modern summary judgment rules while Canada-wide enforcement may be simpler in the Federal Court. Continue Reading
Does the medium matter? According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s recent publication, “.com Disclosures, How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”, consumer protection laws apply equally to all forms of media and devices, including smartphones, tablets, Facebook, Twitter and the internet. The new FTC guidance, released on March 12, 2013, is an update to the FTC’s 2000 publication, “Dot Com Disclosures”.
As a general rule, the FTC requires that an advertiser provide additional information when an ad makes a claim, express or implied, that might be misleading without more information. To be effective, that additional information must be presented in a way that is clear and conspicuous.
Advertisers looking for similar guidance on Canadian law should review the Competition Bureau’s “Enforcement Guidelines on the Application of the Competition Act to Representations on the Internet”, which was last updated in 2009.
State Representative Jeff Leach of Texas recently proposed a bill that has generated significant discussion about the utility of social media in litigation proceedings. The yet untitled bill, HB No. 1989, proposes to allow substituted service in Texas through a social media website if a court finds that the social media account belongs to the defendant, is regularly accessed, and such service is likely to result in actual notice.
Texas is attempting to create with legislation a process that courts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have developed through common law. Generally, courts in these jurisdictions will allow substitutional service through social media when all other methods of serving a party are exhausted. Courts consider whether the account belongs to the proper individual, and whether the account is frequently used, such that social media can affect proper notice.
For those who may be interested, McCarthy Tétrault has just launched our sixth blog, the Ontario Employer Advisor. This blog offers the firm’s perspectives on the latest legal developments applicable to the workplace and of interest to our clients, particularly in Ontario. It provides our insights on legislative and regulatory developments, as well as new case law, with practical tips for employers and their human resources professionals when managing the workforce. We welcome you to visit the blog.
Patent disputes have proliferated in Alberta. As the economy has levelled-off in recent years, patentees have increasingly sought to enforce patents as part of their business strategy. Threats of patent infringement have proliferated and infringement actions have been filed in all Courts, particularly the Federal Court. Companies in the oil and gas sector must be ready to respond quickly and properly to the threat of patent infringement.
On March 27, we met with in-house counsel and other industry leaders at our Calgary office to discuss effective responses to threats of patent infringement. By taking the 10 steps outlined below, a potential defendant will put itself in the best position to respond to threats of patent infringement.
With the launch of the Trademarks Clearinghouse, brand owners can now stake their territory In the brave new world of expanded generic top level domain names (“gTLD’s”). The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”), the non-profit organization that manages and coordinates the system of domain names and IP addresses used on the internet, has put into operation what it calls “the most important rights protection mechanism built into ICANN’s new gTLD program”.
The Trademarks Clearinghouse (“Clearinghouse”), which is operated by Deloitte and IBM, is a centralized database of information submitted by brand owners that will be used by the ultimate operators of the new gTLD’s as part of their process of trying to avoid the infringement of trademark rights through the domain names applied for under their gTLD. Through the Clearinghouse, ICANN is attempting to address brand owners’ concerns about the increased risk of cybersquatting that comes with the introduction of the new gTLD’s.
A controversial bill to amend the Charter of the French Language by the Quebec’s Parti Quebecois (“Bill 14”), has entered general consultations and public hearings. During March and April of 2013 interested parties and individuals may raise points of interest and relevant concerns. (To read more about our analysis about Bill 14, see our related post on this topic.) Various individuals and organizations have undergone this process in parallel through the media and other sources.
One such organization is the Conseil Québécois du Commerce de Détail (“CQCD”), whose mission is to represent, promote and enhance the image of the retail sector in Quebec and to develop ways to foster the advancement of its members. On April 16, 2013, CQCD issued a press release setting out its concerns with respect to Bill 14.
On February 25, 2013 the CRTC staff held an informal consultation with industry and consumer groups following the October 2012 release of CRTC’s guidelines regarding the interpretation of its CASL regulations (the “Consultation”) (To read a more detailed analysis of the Guidelines issued by the CRTC, see our related post on this topic). On April 3, 2013, the CRTC published a brief report describing the discussions that took place during the Consultations.
The objective of the Consultation “was to facilitate a focused conversation and gather useful information regarding issues that businesses and consumer groups foresee when CASL comes into force.” The discussions focused on six topics, each of which is listed below together with a brief summary.
The recent “Pastagate” story has brought Quebec’s language laws to international attention. In that matter, a Montreal Italian restaurant was investigated due to a complaint alleging the prominence of Italian words including “pasta” on its menu. In light of these events, it is timely to review Bill 14 entitled “An Act to amend the Charter of the French language, the Charter of the human rights and freedoms and other legislative provisions” (“Bill 14”) which, if adopted, will have far greater effects on common business practice in Quebec.
Bill 14 was introduced by the Quebec’s Parti Quebecois on December 5, 2012 in the provincial legislature, arriving in the wake of recent debates of the Quebec government with respect to preservation of the French language, including in relation to the use of French on public signs. Among other amendments, Bill 14 proposes to amend the Charter of the French Language (Quebec) (the “Charter”) by reinforcing certain rights of workers and consumers to work, be served and informed in French. It also affirms that the French language constitutes the foundation of Québec’s identity.