Andrew J. Ferren

Andrew J. Ferren

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Andrew J. Ferren

Blog Posts: Retail Law Advisor

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This blog keeps you connected to timely developments and emerging issues in retail law and covers a wide range of topics related to the retail, restaurant and consumer industry. We invite you to learn more about Goulston & Storrs and our Retail, Restaurant & Consumer Group.

Counterfeits in the Digital Marketplace

Counterfeiting has moved beyond high-priced luxury goods to low-cost everyday items. Many of these fake products pose real dangers:  face masks with arsenic ;  phone adapters that can electrocute you ;  computer chargers that fry your hardware ;  batteries that blow up . These counterfeits infiltrate online marketplaces, where...
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One Wild Ride: The Rise of Dockless Bike Share Programs

Bike shares have been around for several years, but the newest iteration of the two-wheeled trend is causing concern among local government officials and citizens alike. Beyond questions of profitability and durability, dockless transit share models raise questions about what the future of commerce looks like.   Dockless bikes and...
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A World of Trademarks at INTA 2018 Annual Meeting in Seattle

During the week of May 20, 2018, members of the Goulston & Storrs  Intellectual Property Group  joined over 10,500 attendees from around the world for the 140th Annual Meeting of the  International Trademark Association (INTA) . Held in Seattle, Washington, the INTA 2018 Annual Meeting attracted an incredibly diverse...
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No More Lifetime Guarantees – The Importance of a Balanced Return Policy

In February 2018, L.L. Bean made the tough decision to  change its lifetime return policy , which had been in existence for over a century. Following the policy change, the company received backlash from its customers , with many of them voicing their frustrations on twitter. One user tweeted...
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Credit Card Evolution: Goodbye John Hancock

For years, the signature requirement for completing a credit card transaction has felt something like an  obsolete means of confirming a user’s identity . Effective this month, however, four of the country’s largest credit card providers: American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa, will no longer require a signature to...
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No Relief in Sight from Website Accessibility Lawsuits

In February 2017, we reported on a surge in website accessibility lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). This litigation trend has accelerated over the past year and shows no signs of slowing down . Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in places...
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Rise of the Drones: Flying Over Newton and Registration Requirements Reinstated

The skies are a little friendlier for drones now that the Dutch police have suspended their squad of drone-hunting eagles . This is also great news for retailers, as drone popularity continues to soar with overall electronics sales . With more advanced technologies available to consumers and drones rapidly...
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Looking Inside the Mind of a Gen Z Shopper

As the 2017 holiday season nears, consumers are getting ready to open their wallets and retailers are hoping their promotions will attract those consumers. Generation Z (“Gen Z”), which includes young people born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s, is an important but often forgotten portion of the consumer population....
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America’s Next Top (Business) Model? Evaluating Fashion’s Big Experiment

Last year, scores of top fashion designers defied convention by abandoning traditional shipping schedules, which favored delivering collections four to six months after they appeared on Fashion Week runways, and moved instead to a system allowing designers the ability to give the “insta-generation” instant retail gratification. Faced with the...
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Is Artificial Intelligence the Key to Retail Survival?

In light of the sea change in the current retail landscape, which was punctuated by the recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon , retailers today are forced to ask themselves: How will we combat disruption in our industry by giants like Amazon and its few peers? To what...
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Supreme Court Says ‘Give Me a ©’ to the Fashion Industry

A recent U.S. Supreme Court copyright decision analyzing cheerleader uniforms may have a profound impact on retailers, and on the fashion industry in particular. On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. that original design elements that are separable from the...
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Copyright Compliance: (Re-)Register Your DMCA Agent in 2017 to Keep Your Website Docked in the Safe Harbor

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) “safe harbor” provisions shield certain online service providers from copyright infringement liability arising from content posted by users on their website. Provided that the service provider registers its DMCA agent and complies with the other statutory requirements , the service provider may encourage...
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FTC Publishes Data Breach Response Guidelines

Whether resulting from a planned cyberattack or mere carelessness, data breaches are on the rise. In 2015, 781 data breaches were reported across the United States, with the average breach costing $3.8 million . In 2016, the total number of breaches is projected to increase, with the average cost...
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Paid Celebrity Endorsements in Social Media: The FTC Is Watching

How much trust do you place in celebrities who endorse products on social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube?  Do you stop to consider whether they are compensated for their efforts and, if so, how much? Studies have shown, for example, that influencers who have...
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“In-Season Relevancy” Is in Season this September

The fashion industry is at a crossroads. Designers must decide whether to continue the age-old tradition of previewing their collections during Fashion Week four to six months before they are available in stores (with fall looks shown in February and spring looks shown in September), or buck tradition in...
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RETAIL 2020: Future Ready – Innovate to Succeed

In late June, members of the local and national retail community convened at Goulston & Storrs’ Boston office to participate in an interactive panel discussion billed as RETAIL 2020: Future Ready. Panelists included Ben Fischman, the Executive Director of M. Gemi,  a designer and retailer of Italian hand-made footwear; Nicki...
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Retailers Take Notice: Will Customers .shop at Your .store?

Have you thought about establishing a new distinctive web address for your business? Do you worry that someone else may try to register your brand name within one of the new generic top level domains (gTLDs)? Whether consciously or not, many retailers have been sitting on the sidelines during...
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Revamping the Runway-to-Retail Model

With the increase in digital coverage of Fashion Week , from live streams to Snapchat stories and Instagram postings, designers have put what might be considered the most coveted and exclusive ticket in town directly in the hands of consumers. During the most recent New York Fashion Week (“NYFW”),...
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Website and Mobile App Accessibility: The DOJ Kicks the Can

In a previous post , we wrote about Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) as it applies to businesses’ public websites and mobile apps. At the time of our last writing, it was expected that the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) would publish its proposed...
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Sustainability in Retail: Going Strong and Expected to Continue

The COP21 meeting has been underway for the last week, with just a few more days left to go. The meeting, an annual session which started following the 1992 United Nations Framework on Climate Change, brings together businesses, policymakers and other thought leaders to advance an important conversation on...
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Looking Ahead to MAPIC 2015

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time again: MAPIC (le marché international professionnel de l’implantation commerciale et de la distribution) hosts its annual meeting and our retail practice will be there in full force. Goulston & Storrs has been working with MAPIC for a number of years.  Last...
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Why is Omnichannel Retail so Hard?

The retail industry has been evolving rapidly to keep up with new technology and consumer patterns. While the chief concern previously was about how traditional retailers could prevent the loss of market share to online retailers, now all retailers compete on all fronts in an omnichannel setting. In brief,...
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Leveling the Playing Field: Mobile Location Analytics

As brick-and-mortar retailers face increasing challenges to compete with their online counterparts, a new tool is helping to level the playing field: mobile location analytics. Traditionally, online retailers have had an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores from the voluminous data that could be gathered while customers perused the retailer’s website....
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Uber Drivers: Employees or Independent Contractors?

Since its founding in 2009, Uber has gained both praise and notoriety for shaking up the taxi industry by allowing individuals who meet minimum requirements to provide an on-demand car service via the Uber mobile app.  In December 2014, there were 162,037 active Uber drivers in the United States...
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Does Your Website or Mobile App Discriminate?

Are you confident that your business complies with federal anti-discrimination laws?  If you offer goods or services to the public through the Internet, the answer may not be as simple as you think.  Increasingly, lawsuits are targeting retailers and other service providers that have an online presence, claiming that...
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From the Suburbs to the City: How Grocery Retailers are Filling the Urban Grocery Gap

As residential high-rises pop up all over the city of Boston, big-name grocery retailers are sprouting nearby to meet the increased demand.  The most recent example is the opening of a Roche Bros. supermarket in Downtown Crossing in late April of this year.  Occupying part of the old Filene’s...
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INTA 2015 Annual Meeting Recap

Last week, members of Goulston & Storrs joined over 9,900 attendees from around the world who converged on San Diego for the 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) .  This 137th meeting of INTA was its largest ever and assembled a remarkably diverse group of brand...
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Blowdryers and Flatirons: The Real Estate Market Heats Up with Salon Suites

For years the price of entry for solo entrepreneurs in the health and beauty category was high. With similar fixed startup costs as any professional practice would have, such as real estate, insurance, supplies, but with much slimmer profit margins, stylists and aestheticians were often relegated to renting chairs...
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