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Shahin Rothermel is an experienced counselor and defender who helps advertisers, retailers, merchants, and marketers advance their business goals while reducing legal and regulatory risks. Shahin provides clients with up-to-date, practical insights into the constantly evolving advertising, marketing, and e-commerce regulations, which allows her clients to make informed decisions. She has achieved successful resolutions, dismissals, and full walkaways in court, saving clients millions of dollars. She takes a pragmatic approach as a counselor, considering the implications of her advice for her clients' marketing campaigns and their bottom lines.

Consider these six options for challenging your competitors’ advertising and marketing claims—each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Continue Reading Event in Review: Why Can They Say That, but I Can’t? How to Challenge Your Competitors’ Advertising While Avoiding Being Targeted

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

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”

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”

Episode 8 of the Ad Law Tool Kit Show, “Social Media, Influencers, and Endorsements,” is now available. Listen here, or search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Advertisers increasingly view social media as an opportunity to have influencers speak positively about their products and services. But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it clear that rules regarding disclosure of material connections also apply in the social media context.

In this episode, Venable partner Melissa Steinman and I go over guidelines that include straightforward declarations like “X Company gave me a free product” or hashtags like #ad, emphasizing upfront, noticeable disclosures. Specific rules apply for different content formats, urging companies to monitor and educate employees and third-party implementers to prevent regulatory issues.Continue Reading Listen to Episode 8 of Venable’s Ad Law Tool Kit Show—”Social Media, Influencers, and Endorsements”

Earlier this month, the National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs (NAD) recommended that Amyris Clean Beauty, Inc.’s (Amyris) Biossance skincare products modify or discontinue several claims regarding their “clean” and “ethically and sustainably sourced” ingredients, including:

  • “Clean ingredients and clean formulas—we ban over 2000 ingredients that are known to be toxic to you and the environment. All of our ingredients are also ethically and sustainably sourced.”
  • “Our 100% sugarcane derived squalane is ethically and sustainably sourced, keeping 2 million sharks every year safe from liver harvesting.”
  • “Did you know our squalane is sugarcane derived and it’s a hero ingredient in *every* Biossance formula? This miracle multitasker locks in weightless moisture, calms and protects, and improves elasticity.”

Continue Reading NAD Issues Decision Addressing “Clean,” “Ethically and Sustainably Sourced,” and Efficacy Claims for Amyris Clean Beauty, Inc. Biossance Skincare Products

The National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs (NAD) recommended last month that Stihl Incorporated USA (Stihl), a manufacturer of equipment and tools, discontinue or modify its unqualified “Made in America” claims. Modified claims would need to make clear that “not all (or virtually all) of its products are made in the United States and that not all (or virtually all) of the parts of those products are from the United States,” according to the recommendations.

The Claims at Issue

NAD reviewed “Made in America” claims made on Stihl’s website, social media, commercials, and print ads. In addition to claiming “Made in America,” Stihl ran ads stating, “It’s just three words. But they tell you everything you need to know…Not everyone can say them. But we can. MADE IN AMERICA.”Continue Reading In “Made in America” Case NAD Finds That Advertisers Should Not Rely on Disclosures to Cure a False or Misleading Claim

If you’ve been focused on only the high-level statements from the CFPB, you might already expect Rohit Chopra to fashion himself and the agency as “pro-consumer.” Consistent with that approach, the agency just signaled its distaste for, and desire to severely restrict, the common and useful advertising practices of comparison-shopping platforms and lead generation.

Using its bully pulpit (and not notice and comment regulation or waiting for explicit legal authority), the CFPB released a Consumer Financial Protection Circular, stating that operators of digital comparison-shopping tools (“Operators”) and lead generators can violate the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s (CFPA) prohibition on abusive acts or practices if they steer consumers to certain products or services—or certain providers—based on compensation received by the lead generator or Operator. This might feel like standard consumer protection-speak, except that equating compensation models to abusive conduct means that the CFPB has performance advertising in its crosshairs.

In its press release announcing the circular, the CFPB explains, “[T]he guidance discusses how regulators and law enforcement agencies can evaluate operators of comparison-shopping tools that accept payments from financial firms to manipulate results or suppress options that may better fit the consumer’s stated preferences.” In the same release, the CFPB also announced that it would be “developing a consumer-facing tool that, once finished, will bring more transparency to credit card comparison-shopping.”Continue Reading Why the CFPB’s Preferencing and Steering Practices Circular Should Scare Lead Generators and Consumer Financial Services Providers

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 mitigating class action exposure in this week’s episode.


When it comes to mitigating the risk of class action lawsuits, the best offense is a good defense. Companies can take many steps to reduce their exposure to class action litigation before it happens, including the tactics listed below.

Reducing exposure to class action litigation:

Continue Reading Mitigating Class Action Exposure: An Excerpt from the Advertising Law Tool Kit

Episode 6 of the Ad Law Tool Kit Show, “Mitigating Class Action Exposure,” is now available. Listen here, or search for it in your favorite podcast player.

When it comes to mitigating class action lawsuits, the best offense is a good defense. There are plenty of steps companies can take to reduce their exposure to class action litigation.

In this episode, I talk to Venable partner Dan Silverman about ways for organizations to minimize class action lawsuit risks by proactively defending against potential litigation. These include conducting thorough advertising reviews, monitoring competitors’ practices, adhering to regulatory standards, and focusing on areas susceptible to litigation, such as consumer interactions, billing, data breaches, and marketing claims.Continue Reading Listen to Episode 6 of Venable’s Ad Law Tool Kit Show – “Mitigating Class Action Exposure”