Monday, August 11, 2008

Trade Regulation Tidbits

This posting was written by John W. Arden and Thomas Long.

News, updates, and observations:

Jeffrey Schmidt, Director of the FTC Bureau of Competition, is leaving the agency to become a partner in the New York office of the Linklaters law firm. Schmidt joined the Commission as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Competition in February 2005. In his two-and-a-half years as director, Schmidt supervised the Bureau’s merger and non-merger enforcement divisions, helped to develop antitrust policy, secured changes in the Bureau’s infrastructure and merger review processes, and managed Bureau resources during a time when the FTC’s federal court case docket was greatly expanded, according to the Commission. David P. Wales, a Deputy Director of the Bureau of Competition since April 2006, has been named Acting Director. Previous to his service with the Commission, Wales was a partner in the antitrust practice groups of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and Sherman & Sterling LLP. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Further information is available here on the FTC website.

 In an August 1 letter, leading members of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce informed 33 cable, telephone, and Internet companies that the committee was looking into online behavioral advertising, the “the growing trend of companies tailoring Internet advertising based upon consumers’ Internet search, surfing, and other use.” Questions have been raised about how current statutory privacy protections apply to these practices and whether further legislation is needed, the letter stated. The companies were asked to provide information by August 8 about their data collection practices, the number of consumers affected, consumer notification efforts, and any “opt in” or “opt out” procedures offered to consumers. This information was requested to help the committee better understand “how companies may be engaged in efforts to target Internet advertising, the impact of such efforts on consumers, and broader public policy implications . . . ” A news release and a copy of the letter appear at the website of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 “What’s New in Comparative Advertising, Claim Support, and Self-Regulation” is the title of the National Advertising Division’s Annual Conference , scheduled for September 22-23 in New York City. Presented by the National Advertising Review Council and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the conference will feature the following topics: (1) social networking, blogging, branded integration, and interactive media; (2) challenges in claim substantiation; (3) supporting implied messages in advertising; (4) consumer surveys; (5) puffery and the risks of pushing the boundaries; (6) environmental advertising claims; (7) FTC enforcement priorities; (8) the National Advertising Division year in review; (9) a mock NAD challenge; (10) National Advertising Review Board appeals; and (11) NAD compliance and FTC enforcement. The keynote address will be delivered by Ty Montague of JWT New York. Other speakers will include Lesley A. Fair, senior attorney of the FTC Division of Consumer and Business Education, and U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet. For further information or to register for this conference, visit the website of the National Advertising Review Council.

No comments: