It’s not often we see defendants win a resounding victory against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and/or state attorneys general, especially after trial. But a recent opinion out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania provides us with just that. On March 29, 2024 the court issued a 55-page opinion following a 15-day bench trial on the FTC and Pennsylvania attorney general’s claims against American Future Systems, Inc. and its two co-defendants, finding in favor of the defendants on all six counts.

The FTC and Pennsylvania AG challenged telemarketing for print publications, claiming defendants deliberately misled consumers when defendants:

Continue Reading Telemarketing Trial: Defendant Sweeps All Six Claims Against the FTC and Pennsylvania AG

Join us as we spotlight select chapters of Venable’s popular Advertising Law Tool Kit, which helps marketing teams navigate their organization’s legal risk. Click here to download the entire Tool Kit, and tune in to the Ad Law Tool Kit Show podcast, to hear an author of this chapter dive deeper into telemarketing and texting in this week’s episode.


Telephone and text message marketing poses private litigation risks and regulatory hurdles that should be considered before any campaign. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and states enforce do-not-call (DNC) laws and impose multiple other requirements regarding calling manner, disclosures, consent, opt-out, calling hour limits, caller identification, and telemarketer registration. Calls and texts made to cell phones, using certain types of dialing technology (including autodialers) and prerecorded messages (so-called robocalls), require particular attention, as much of the enforcement and litigation in this area involve texting and robocalling.

Continue Reading Telemarketing and Texting: An Excerpt from the Advertising Law Tool Kit

In February 2024, a New York federal jury returned a split verdict in the New York attorney general’s lengthy battle against Quincy Bioscience, finding that certain of Quincy’s efficacy and establishment claims for a dietary supplement called Prevagen were materially misleading. Quincy advertises that Prevagen improves memory through an active ingredient derived from jellyfish.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York AG jointly brought the case against Quincy in 2017, alleging its marketing of Prevagen was unfair, deceptive, or false advertising in violation of Sections 5 and 12 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and New York General Business Law Sections 349 and 350, and for repeated fraudulent acts under New York Executive Law section 63(12). The New York AG sought injunctive relief and restitution from Quincy, and the FTC sought injunctive relief. The FTC’s claim is still pending and was not a part of the New York jury trial. The FTC/AG tag team has become common after the AMG decision, and the FTC recently discussed this in its report to Congress on cooperation with AGs.

Continue Reading Unraveling a Tangled Net of Claims: Jury Split on a Jellyfish-Derived Supplement Product

Historically, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has touted self-regulation as integral to consumer protection. This has included encouraging industries to work with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in developing a self-regulatory body that can promote industry-wide policies and heightened compliance. However, late last month, the FTC criticized guidance promulgated by a self-regulatory body calling into question how much the current FTC values industry self-regulation.  

In 2023, the BBB National Programs’ Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), a self-regulatory agency for multilevel marketers (MLMs) and their members, released a guidance document on the use of Income Disclosure Statements (IDS). The purpose of IDS is to give prospective members information on the amount of income they can expect to earn in a business. Although these disclosures are not mandatory, if issued, they must comply with FTC regulations, as they are considered advertisements.

Continue Reading Not So Fast: FTC Letter Rebukes Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Guidance

Episode 12 of the Ad Law Tool Kit Show, “Telemarketing and Texting,” is now available. Listen here, or search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Telephone and text marketing is ubiquitous these days. But those tools also pose private litigation risks and regulatory hurdles that marketers should be aware of at the outset of any campaign. They involve legal and regulatory complexities, including do-not-call laws enforced by the FTC, FCC, and states.

Continue Reading Listen to Episode 12 of Venable’s Ad Law Tool Kit Show – “Telemarketing and Texting”

Join us as we spotlight select chapters of Venable’s popular Advertising Law Tool Kit, which helps marketing teams navigate their organization’s legal risk. Click here to download the entire Tool Kit, and tune in to the Ad Law Tool Kit Show podcast, to hear an author of this chapter dive deeper into state AG inquiries in this week’s episode.


State attorneys general (AGs) are the chief legal officers of their states or territories and can bring actions to protect the “public interest” in almost any area of law. They represent the state government and the general public and have broad jurisdiction over everything from public corruption to consumer protection.

Continue Reading State Attorney General Inquiries: An Excerpt from the Advertising Law Tool Kit

Episode 11 of the Ad Law Tool Kit Show, “State Attorney General Investigations,” is now available. Listen here, or search for it in your favorite podcast player.

State attorneys general (AGs) are the chief legal officers of their states, and their areas of concern are vast. Aggressive enforcement against telemarking, debt relief, privacy violations, and charity fraud can generate goodwill with an AG’s state residents. Compliance with laws, prompt complaint resolution, and proactive engagement with AGs are crucial.

In this episode, I talk to former Venable partner Alex Megaris about how businesses facing AG inquiries should retain documents, negotiate confidentiality agreements, and focus efforts on smaller AG committees in multi-state actions to manage these probes effectively.

Continue Reading Listen to Episode 11 of Venable’s Ad Law Tool Kit Show – “State Attorney General Investigations”

helps marketing teams navigate their organization’s legal risk. Click here to download the entire Tool Kit, and tune in to the Ad Law Tool Kit Show podcast, to hear the authors of this chapter dive deeper into website accessibility in this week’s episode.


Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability by “public accommodations.” The explosion of online commerce has forced the question: Does Title III apply to websites?

In a few jurisdictions, Title III applies only if the website has a nexus to an actual physical space. For instance, the California Court of Appeals recently issued a decision finding that the websites of “online-only” businesses are not places of public accommodation under the ADA or state law. It is a bit early to tell, but the decision is expected to substantially reduce the volume of website accessibility lawsuits filed in California. Organizations should keep in mind, however, that a plaintiff may still satisfy the “nexus” requirement when a website contains information about a brick-and-mortar location, such as store hours, or goods sold at a company’s store.

Continue Reading Website Accessibility: An Excerpt from the Advertising Law Tool Kit

Episode 10 of the Ad Law Tool Kit Show, “Website Accessibility,” is now available. Listen here, or search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in public accommodations. But whether it applies to websites differs by location. California exempts online-only businesses, for example, but elsewhere, offering online goods or services can mandate compliance.

In this episode, I talk to Venable attorneys Karel Mazanec and Nick Reiter about recent court decisions that provide defenses against generic lawsuits, stressing specific injury claims. The explosion of online commerce has forced the question: How does Title III apply to websites?

Continue Reading Listen to Episode 10 of Venable’s Ad Law Tool Kit Show—”Website Accessibility”

On March 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules that require cable television operators and satellite video providers to specify the aggregate monthly all-in price for video programming services on customer bills, any advertising, and all promotional materials in a “clear, easy-to-understand, and accurate single line-item.”

The price must include all charges for broadcast stations, sports programming, and any other programming. Other line items such as taxes, administrative fees, equipment fees, franchise fees, and fees for public, educational, and governmental (PEG) channels are not required to be part of the all-in price.

Continue Reading FCC Adopts Video Service All-In Pricing Rules