A series of recent regulatory actions at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reaffirms the agency’s commitment to ESG (environmental-social-governance) issues under new Chair Gary Gensler. These actions, which affect shareholder proposals, contested director elections, and proxy advisory firms, will each impact publicly-traded retailers.

Continue Reading SEC Continues to Advance ESG Agenda

A group of Democratic representatives led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) have introduced a “Safer Beauty” bill package that would ban certain chemicals in cosmetics and require more ingredient transparency in the supply chain.  The Safer Beauty bill package is comprised of four separate bills targeting certain “chemicals of concern” commonly used in cosmetics—including PFAS, phthalates, and formaldehyde.

Continue Reading “Safer Beauty” Bill Package Targets PFAS, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, and Other Common Chemicals in Cosmetics

Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events and labor shortages have created significant supply chain challenges for retailers. In addition, the demand for more productive internet sales fulfillment centers has dramatically increased and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Many retailers were already in the process of converting to automation systems for supply chain facilities and internet fulfillment centers as a means to increase efficiency, productivity and revenue on a per square foot basis of logistics space, and the recent supply chain challenges have accelerated that process for many retailers. Automation includes equipment installations, automated vehicles, robotics and software products, and is designed to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce labor needs and operating expenses, and improve work place safety. Of course, there are many factors to consider for retailers converting to automated systems, including many real estate related considerations. This blog post focuses primarily on leasing issues, but retailers should also consider alternatives such as using or purchasing owned land or contracting with a 3PL service provider. Continue Reading Automation and Logistics: Real Estate Considerations

For many companies, including retailers, filing an inter partes review (“IPR”) is a highly popular avenue to challenge patent validity before the U.S. Patent Office and outside of federal district court. An IPR is often a faster and easier way to challenge a patent than in district court.

Continue Reading Easy to Start, Potentially Hard to Finish: Considerations for Retailers in Appealing an IPR Decision

Retailers, beware! The new wave in the fight against “robocalls” is coming, and it’s targeting telemarketing text messages. In the past six months, we have seen an uptick in activity at both the state and federal level to rein in telemarketing text messages, and companies using any kind of text messaging telemarketing will want to proceed with caution.

Continue Reading Scary Halloween Stories: Fight Against Robocalls Is Coming for Telemarketing Text Messages

Following the recent trend of retailers abandoning gendered store sections and product lines, California has passed legislation that will force certain large retailers to adopt non-gendered children’s sections in California store locations. Continue Reading New California Legislation will Require Some Retailers to Adopt Gender Neutral Children’s Sections by 2024

The Recall Roundup is a monthly survey of regulatory activity affecting the manufacture, distribution, and sale of consumer products. Subject matter may include the latest product recalls, federal agency major developments, and proposed or new federal rules. The blog’s goal is to provide an overview, rather than a comprehensive report on every development that could potentially affect businesses or consumers. Nothing herein constitutes legal advice. If you have questions or comments about the blog, please reach out to the authors.

Continue Reading Recall Roundup: September

Today, the FTC announced it had sent “Notices of Penalty Offense” to over 700 businesses, including top consumer products companies, large retailers, tech platforms, media and gaming companies, and ad agencies, warning them against engaging in deceptive and unfair practices when it comes to using endorsements and testimonials in ads.

Continue Reading FTC Issues Notice of Penalty Offenses to Over 700 Retailers: Companies Now on “Notice” of Civil Penalty Jeopardy

On September 22, 2021, the Division of Corporation Finance (Division) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a sample comment letter to highlight its increased focus on climate change-related disclosures or the absence of such disclosures in issuer filings under the Securities Act and the Exchange Act. This sample comment letter follows a recent increase in climate-related comments the Division has issued during the disclosure review process, and many of the sample comments appear to be derived from actual comment letters issued in 2021. The sample is consistent with the SEC’s 2010 Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change, which does not mandate specific, line item climate change-related disclosures, but instead takes a principles-based approach.

Continue Reading SEC Issues Sample Climate Change Comment Letter

In a dramatic recent announcement, EPA suggested that if companies import, manufacture, or process a finished good for commercial sale, and that product is not a pesticide, not a firearm, not a tobacco product, and not a food, food additive, drug, cosmetic, or device, they will need to know all chemicals contained in those products. We explain more about this below.

Continue Reading EPA May Require Companies To Know All The Chemicals In Products They Make Or Sell