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In our client alert, A Brief Explanation of the USPTO’s Useful New AI-Assisted Invention Guidance, we discuss the Inventorship Guidance for AI-assisted Inventions, 89 Fed. Reg. 10043 (Feb. 13, 2024), recently released by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The guidance provides inventors and patent applicants with a framework regarding AI-assisted inventions and how inventorship of such will be judged at the USPTO. Why should a retailer care?

Continue Reading New USPTO AI-Assisted Invention Guidance Will Affect Retailers and Consumer Goods Companies
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In recent years, consumers filed a spate of class actions claiming that retailers misrepresented the retail price on discounted goods to mislead consumers into thinking they were obtaining a bargain. Many of those cases settled or were dismissed for lack of injury because plaintiffs failed to allege that the purchased item was deficient in an objectively identifiable way.

Continue Reading Does Being “Left to Guess” Establish Standing for Injunctive Relief After TransUnion?
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Companies face significant exposure from privacy related claims. An increasing number of these claims result from efforts at the state level to regulate use of personal data. One key focus is Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), but as lawmakers in other states continue to introduce legislation aimed at regulating the use of biometric data, more court decisions may muddy the waters regarding what conduct may be covered under a general liability policy.

Continue Reading Illinois Court Says 7th Circuit Fumbled Illinois Law in BIPA Decision
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Our 2023 Retail Industry Year in Review provides a comprehensive overview of recent developments, issues, and trends impacting retailers, as well as a look ahead at what to expect in 2024. We hope you will take a few minutes to review our new publication released last week.

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On January 10, 2024, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued the “Final Rule” that modifies the standard for determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule will take effect on March 11, 2024.

Continue Reading More Employees! New Rule Makes It Harder to Classify Workers as Independent Contractors
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On January 26, 2024, the FTC announced that it had entered into an agreement with tractor maker Kubota North America Corporation, settling allegations that Kubota falsely labeled some of its replacement parts as “Made in USA” despite manufacturing those parts entirely overseas. The FTC’s complaint was filed along with a consent order that requires Kubota to pay a $2 million civil penalty, the largest penalty ever assessed for violations of the FTC’s Made in USA Labeling Rule. The consent order also requires Kubota to comply with the FTC’s requirements for Made in USA claims.

Continue Reading FTC Announces $2 Million Penalty Against Tractor Maker for False “Made in USA” Product Claims
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On December 14, 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional deal on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D). Initially proposed by the European Commission in February of 2022, the CS3D requires certain companies to account for and mitigate adverse human rights and environmental impacts throughout their supply chains, including both their own operations as well as upstream and downstream activities. In November 2022, the European Council adopted the general approach proposed by the European Commission. Since then, the Council and the European Parliament have negotiated the parameters of the CS3D to reach a provisional agreement. While press releases from the Council, the Parliament, and the Commission all confirm an agreement has been reached, the text of the agreed upon CS3D is not yet publicly available. It is likely to be released in early 2024.

Continue Reading EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive Nearly Final
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On December 13, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill S1048A into law requiring sellers that impose credit card surcharges to post the total price, inclusive of the surcharge. In addition, the surcharge to customers may not exceed the amount of the surcharge charged to the business by the credit card company for such credit card use. Per the legislative history, “This bill is necessary to prevent consumers from being misled when making a purchase using their credits cards.”

Continue Reading New York Law Targets Hidden Credit Card Fees
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The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will hold an informal hearing on February 13, 2024 on the agency’s proposed rule banning fake reviews and testimonials. As we reported in July 2023, the FTC is proposing to ban business from using illicit review and endorsement practices such as using fake reviews, suppressing honest negative reviews and paying for positive reviews, which deceive consumers looking for real feedback on a product or service and undercut honest businesses.

Continue Reading FTC Will Hold Informal Hearing on Fake Reviews Rule
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With the growing emergence of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws, companies selling products in the United States must increasingly plan for the end of a product’s life. EPR programs shift waste-management responsibilities that have traditionally been handled by consumers or state and local governments to the “producer” of the product.

Continue Reading Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging: What’s Ahead in 2024