Washington State Passes New Legislation on Collection and Use of Biometric Identifiers

On April 18, 2017, the state of Washington passed House Bill 1493 (“HB 1493”), which sets forth requirements for businesses who collect and use biometric identifiers for commercial purposes. Under HB 1493, a biometric identifier includes a fingerprint, voiceprint, retina, iris or other unique biological pattern or characteristic used to identify a specific individual. Commercial use includes “a purpose in furtherance of the sale or disclosure to a third party for the purpose of marketing of goods or services when such goods or services are unrelated to the initial transaction in which a person first gains possession of an individual’s biometric identifier.” This bill comes after several other states have passed similar legislation regulating the commercial use of biometric identifiers, including the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (740 ILCS 14) (“BIPA”) and the Texas Statute on the Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier (Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. §503.001).  Continue Reading

IT/Procurement Leadership Forum Hosted in Charlotte & Dallas

In May, Hunton & Williams is pleased to host in-person forums in its Charlotte and Dallas offices, bringing together industry experts in technology and procurement to discuss some of the most pressing legal and business issues facing customers in this space. These forums are hosted with the support of ISG. Our program topics include software audits and contract lifecycle management. These forums are designed to provide an in-depth understanding of these issues, as well as key practical and legal principles to apply on a routine basis. Continue Reading

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Public Comment Period Extended for FTC’s Connected Car Workshop

The FTC has announced that the public now has until May 1, 2017, to submit public comment ahead of its June 28 workshop on connected cars. Continue Reading

In Maui County, It’s Five O’Clock Around the Clock

The Maui County Liquor Control Commission, which regulates licenses for the importation, manufacture and sale of alcohol within Maui County, has liberalized certain County rules on the sale of alcohol: holders of liquor licenses are now generally permitted to sell alcohol to customers 24 hours per day. Retailers had previously been restricted to selling alcohol during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., while hotels were permitted to serve until 4:00 a.m. Under the new rules, both are subject to the same standards. Continue Reading

FTC: Social Media Influencers and Brands Must Disclose Ties

On April 19, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission issued warnings to more than 90 brands and “influencers” that their social media posts should more clearly and conspicuously disclose brand connections. The warning letters follow petitions filed by consumer advocacy groups aimed at influencer advertising on Instagram. The FTC’s warning letters show that the agency is committed to capitalizing on its recent enforcement actions against brands and influencers, and will continue to scrutinize social media compliance with the Endorsement Guides.

Read the full client alert.

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Grocers and Convenience Stores Argue FDA’s Menu Label Rule Too Broad

The National Grocers Association (“NGA”) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (“NACS”) filed a citizen petition claiming that the FDA’s final menu rule, effective on May 5, 2017, requiring calorie counts on menus for “restaurants and similar retail food establishments,” is overbroad and imposes significant costs for compliance. The NGA and NACS petition makes several arguments for delaying or changing the proposed final rule, including: (1) the $1 billion compliance cost estimate over 10 years is too low, and instead the $1 billion will be “initial” costs to comply, (2) the FDA has failed to show any evidence that the rule will actually address obesity and consumer health, so the rule would violate the First Amendment, and (3) the rule sweeps in any business that sells prepared food, which was not contemplated by Congress in the Affordable Care Act. The FDA stated that it is considering the petition and an extension of time. Continue Reading

An Increasing Number of Proxy Challenges Focus on Equal Pay

As media outlets recently highlighted Equal Pay Day on April 4, 2017, publicly held retailers should be aware that the focus on pay equity is becoming increasingly popular among activist shareholders. This proxy season, more than 20 publicly traded companies are facing shareholder proposals at their annual meetings to vote on whether they should research and report on pay gaps by gender and race. Continue Reading

2017 Conflict Minerals Update

With less than two months before the May 31 deadline for public companies to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on the inclusion of conflict minerals in their products, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia entered a final judgment in National Association of Manufacturers v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the litigation surrounding the SEC conflict minerals rule. This alert provides a summary of legal developments over the past year on the topic of conflict minerals, including the SEC’s most recent action, and provides our suggestions for compliance for the next year.

Read the full client alert.

Consumer Protection in Retail: Weekly Roundup

This past week, several consumer actions were made that affect the retail industry.

NetSpend Settles Deceptive Advertising Claims with FTC

NetSpend Corp recently agreed to settle FTC allegations that the company deceived consumers about access to funds deposited to debit cards. The FTC voted to approve the stipulated final order, with Commissioner McSweeney and former Commissioner Ramirez voting to approve and Acting Chairman Ohlhausen dissenting. Continue Reading

Product Recalls: Keeping Your Insurance Coverage Intact

Product recalls are on the rise in many industries. As regulatory and consumer protection standards get tougher, product supply chains are becoming more complex. This increases the risk of errors, defects and contamination at all levels of operation. Too often, these problems do not manifest themselves until after a product hits the market. All of this can lead to staggering expenses for food and product manufacturers facing the risks and realities of product recalls. Continue Reading