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Last month, a federal judge denied Frito-Lay’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit involving allegations that its “Salt and Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips” contain artificial flavors. Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that Frito Lay: (1) did not specify the type of malic acid on the ingredient panel; and (2) falsely labeled the chips as containing no artificial flavors, because the chips contain malic acid (which the plaintiffs allege is artificial). Frito-Lay argued it is under no obligation…
This week, the Massachusetts Secretary of State ordered five companies, 18Moons, Across Platforms, Mattervest, Pink Ribbon, and Sparko, to cease and desist from engaging in initial coin offering (“ICO”) campaigns as part of an ongoing government investigation of token sales.  The companies allegedly offered and sold unregistered securities in violation of the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act (Chapter 110A of Massachusetts’ General Laws) and corresponding regulations.  The orders, among other things, (1) prohibit the companies from…
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is leading a coalition of 32 attorneys general (AGs’) in opposition to federal preemption in the area of data breaches, identity theft, and data security. Specifically, the group wrote a bipartisan letter on March 19, 2018, to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit regarding the proposed Data Acquisition and Technology Accountability and Security Act, a draft bill…
Last month, Juan Marco filed a copyright infringement suit against Live Nation and the other promoters of the summer music festival, Lollapalooza. According to the complaint, Marco granted a limited license to the concert promoters to use Marco’s artwork for three years and only for use in the United States and Chile.  Marco alleges that the concert promoters featured artwork that was substantially similar or identical to his work in hats, shoes, marketing materials, advertisements,…
The City of Berkeley, California will be the first U.S. city to explore blockchain-based financing to tackle social issues such as affordable housing.  Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Ben Bartlett are collaborating with the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab and San Francisco-based financial startup Neighborly for the Berkeley Blockchain Initiative (“BBI”) to develop a tokenized municipal bond.  According to Forbes, Berkeley had a similar idea twenty years ago with a local currency called “Berkeley Bucks.”  This…
The City of Berkeley, California will be the first U.S. city to explore blockchain-based financing to tackle social issues such as affordable housing.  Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Ben Bartlett are collaborating with the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab and San Francisco-based financial startup Neighborly for the Berkeley Blockchain Initiative (“BBI”) to develop a tokenized municipal bond.  According to Forbes, Berkeley had a similar idea twenty years ago with a local currency called “Berkeley Bucks.”  This…
On February 26, 2018, an en banc federal appeals court held that the common carrier exception in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act that preempts FTC jurisdiction is “activity-based” rather than “status-based” and therefore applies only to the extent an entity engages in common-carrier services. See FTC v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 15-16585, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04785EMC (Opinion) (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2018). The decision affirmed the Northern District of California’s denial of AT&T Mobility LLC’s…
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mailed over $668,000 in the form of 3,791 refund checks to victims of a tech support scam last month. In July 2016, the FTC and the state of Florida alleged Big Dog Solutions LLC (doing business as Help Desk National and Help Desk Global) and related defendants operated a telemarketing scheme that deceived consumers into purchasing unnecessary computer security or technical support services for problems that did not actually exist…
A Washington Legal Foundation legal opinion titled “The FTC’s Black-Box Determination of Information’s Sensitivity Imperils First Amendment and Due-Process Rights” and written by Gerry Stegmaier, Wendell Bartnick, and Kelley Chittenden illustrates the troubling fact that although businesses are tasked with implementing “reasonable” data security that hinges, in part, on the sensitivity of information, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has never explicitly defined what “sensitive information” actually is. Instead, the FTC deems various categories as sensitive…
On February 9, 2018, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) released a statement which, among other things, informs the marketplace that the SFC sent letters to seven Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchanges warning against listing instruments that qualify as “securities” under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (“SFO”) without a required license.[1]  Additionally, the SFC sent letters to seven crypto token issuers inquiring about compliance with the securities laws. In response to the…