Marketing Law relates to the statutes, case law, and rules and regulations pertaining to the prevention of consumer harm resulting from deceptive marketing practices related to the sale of goods and services. These laws tend to be particularly strict with regard to food products, drugs, medical devices, and financial matters.
Marketing and advertising are essentially the ways one gets information about a product or service to the general public and is the key to success for many businesses. But, every businesses has a legal obligation to ensure that those marketing and advertising materials are truthful and not deceptive or otherwise a violation of the law.
Federal Trade Commission
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal agency responsible for overseeing and regulating advertisers and promulgates much of the marketing law on the books today. FTC regulations relate to most aspects of marketing, such as how one labels a product, how a business conducts email and telemarketing campaigns, the veracity of health or “green” claims made on products, and how products are marketed to children.
Truth in Advertising
Truth in advertising refers to the body of law governing truthful marketing. These laws concern matters such as:
Product Endorsements – requirements that endorsements be truthful and, in the case of celebrity endorsements, that the celebrity have actually used the product.
Advertising to Children – rules designed to prevent misleading impressionable young people.
“Made in the USA” labels – regulations of how much of a product must be created in the United States in order to bear such a label.
Health Claims – rules regarding the claimed effects for products like weight loss drugs, anti-aging products, supplements, and other products.
Environmental Impact – Rules related to the claims of environmental impact or benefit of a product, such as the content of recycled material for a product to be called recycled.
Another significant area of marketing law pertains to telemarketing. Much of this industry has been curtailed in recent years by the enactment of the National Do Not Call Registry and other laws. However, telemarketing still remains a means of marketing for some business sectors and these laws regulate how those working in this sector must govern their affairs.
A more recent area of legal concern in marketing has been the proliferation of junk email, or “SPAM.” These are unsolicited messages, usually designed for advertising purposes, and often related to products or services in which the recipient has little or no interest or which could be considered offensive. These laws are very specific about what an email marketer must and must not do in order to avoid running afoul of FTC regulations.For more information about Marketing Law, you can review the materials below or contact an attorney. You can find attorneys in your area who can assist you with your legal questions on our Law Firms page.
Know Your Rights!
Articles on HG.org Related to Marketing Law
- Legality of Posting Online Reviews of ProductsPosting online reviews for products or to inform consumers about the website is a legal gray area in general. However, if these reviews are from the company, family or friends of the business or fake, this is considered a violation per the Federal Trade Commission.
- Can Advertising Support be the Object of a Lawsuit by Competitors or Lawyers not Considered the Best?The rules of professional responsibility govern the ability to advertise services of a lawyer as the best in the industry or in a certain location. This claim is subjective and may be misconstrued when the legal representative is unable to win every case for every client.
- What are the Consequences if the Lawyer Does Not Deliver the “Best” Results for His Clients?The ethical responsibilities of a lawyer are to ensure the best possible results may be delivered to his or her clients. This means researching the matter, creating the best strategy for the court room, negotiating for the best benefits of the person with opposing counsel and a variety of other items.
- What Are the Legal Consequences for Advertising the "Best" Lawyers If They Do Not Deliver?Advertising as the best in any category is difficult to live up to when the lawyer has multiple clients and is working long hours. It is best to avoid using these phrases, or he or she could face litigation when the services do not live up to the advertisements.
- Legality of Paying for Online ReviewsOnline reviews for products, services and amenities through websites and companies draw customers and clients in for business. However, some of these organizations pay for the online reviews, which could be in the gray legal area.
- Call-Blocking Apps Could Stop You from Winning Big Against RoboCallsBy Using Apps such as NOMOROBO. This will prevent you from earning money from these harassing robocalls. You may be entitled to stop and earn money per robocalls.
- Marketing Your Criminal Defense Credibility OnlineA criminal defense lawyer's credibility is their stock-in-trade. Leveraging credibility online can help the defense lawyer attract more and better clients.
- FTC’s Role in Promulgating Laws about Digital MarketingDigital marketing and an online presence are utilized by many companies to take advantage of the growing need for the internet connection to an increasing e-commerce world. Because of this, the Federal Trade Commission is pressed to implement guidelines and strategies that are morally and ethically responsible.
- Alcohol, Language, and the LawLegal disputes have become increasingly common among breweries and distilleries. Companies are litigating not only over trademark confusion, but also the meanings of words like "craft" and "handmade." The outcome of some of these suits may have wider implications, impacting how certain beverages are labeled.
- Northern Border Security: Impact of Canada's Anti-Spam Law on American BusinessesWhen you think of countries leading the cyber-security charge, chances are that Canada is not the first name on your list. That has changed. On July 1, 2014, Canada implemented the new Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”), which arguably is the strictest anti-spam legislation in the world.
- All Communication Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Communication including: advertising, marketing law and media.
Marketing Law - US
- Country of Origin Labeling
Country of Origin Labeling is a labeling law that requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouse stores, notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods. Food products, (covered commodities) contained in the law include muscle cut and ground meats: beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.
- FDA - Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 was passed after a legally marketed toxic elixir killed 107 people, including many children. The FD&C Act completely overhauled the public health system. Among other provisions, the law authorized the FDA to demand evidence of safety for new drugs, issue standards for food, and conduct factory inspections.
- Federal Trade Commission Act - Deceptive Marketing
Section 5 of the FTC Act makes unlawful deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. The Commission's criteria for determining whether an express or implied claim has been made are enunciated in the Commission's Policy Statement on Deception.
- FTC - CAN-SPAM Act
Do you use email in your business? The CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations. Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.
- FTC - Division of Marketing Practices
The Division of Marketing Practices responds to ever-evolving problems of consumer fraud in the marketplace. The Division enforces the FTC Act and several other federal consumer protection laws by filing FTC actions in federal district court for immediate and permanent orders to stop scams; prevent fraudsters from perpetrating scams in the future, freeze their assets; and get compensation for scam victims.
Organizations Related to Marketing Law
- American Marketing Association (AMA)
The American Marketing Association (AMA) is the professional association for individuals and organizations who are leading the practice, teaching, and development of marketing worldwide. Our principal roles are: The AMA serves as a conduit to foster knowledge sharing. Providing resources, education, career and professional development opportunities. Promoting/ supporting marketing practice and thought leadership.
- Direct Marketing Association
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing – both online and offline, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process.
- Legal Marketing Association
The Legal Marketing Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs and maintaining the professional standards of the men and women involved in marketing within the legal profession.
- Promotion Marketing Association, Inc (PMA)
Established in 1911, the Promotion Marketing Association, Inc (PMA) is the premier not-for- profit organization and resource for research, education and collaboration for marketing professionals. Representing the over $1 trillion integrated marketing industry, the organization is comprised of Fortune 500 companies, top marketing agencies, law firms, retailers, service providers and academia, representing thousands of brands worldwide.
Publications Related to Marketing Law
- ABA - Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills
This is the first volume in ABA's new groundbreaking Law Firm Associates Development Series, created to teach important skills that associates and other lawyers need to succeed at their firms, but that they may have not learned in law school. This volume focuses on personal marketing and sales skills. It covers creating a personal marketing plan, finding people within your target market, preparing for client meetings, "asking" for business, realizing marketing opportunities, keeping your clients, staying in touch with your network inside and outside the firm, and more.
- Technology and Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman is an Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law. He also directs the school's High Tech Law Institute. Before joining the SCU faculty in 2006, he was an Assistant Professor at Marquette University Law School, General Counsel of Epinions.com, and an Internet transactional attorney at Cooley Godward LLP.