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Category: Compliance

The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Gift Card Litigation Arrives for the Holidays
It is a little-known fact that, in 1994, Blockbuster video was the first store to display pre-paid gift cards for sale. Unlike VHS rentals, the gift card industry has only grown in popularity. Gift cards from major retailers are at the top of many holiday wish lists. Considered a...
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Unconscious Bias in the Retail World

Last week, in our highlights of the 49 th ICSC U.S. Law Conference , we touched on Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji ’s keynote presentation, where she discussed unconscious bias and how it affects everyone. She has also co-authored a book entitled Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People discussing these...
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Are U.S. retailers keeping your data safe?

Sharing limited personal information with retailers has its benefits, including targeted ads, discounts, incentives, and coupons.  But at what cost?  Do the risks of disclosing your personal information to retailers outweigh the benefits to which time-sensitive consumers have grown accustomed?  Many retail consumers no longer have personal connections to...
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Bag Bans: The War on Plastic Bags

Grocery shoppers used to make the final decision of their supermarket trip in the checkout line. Reaching for boxes of cereal, cartons of eggs, and jars of jam in their rolling metal carts, placing those items onto slow-moving counter conveyor belts, they weighed two options. Paper or plastic? Which...
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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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Protecting the Popular Brand: Considerations to Avoid Genericide

When it comes to trademark registration, there is such a thing as being too popular. Marks such as Aspirin, Fiberglass, Zipper and Flip Phone became so ubiquitous that they were found to be generic—a commonly used name or description of a kind of product. When a trademark becomes so...
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Updates to California Proposition 65 Affect Retailers and their Suppliers

On August 30, 2018, significant changes to California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) warning regulations take effect. In the retail context, Prop 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to warn individuals in California about products containing certain listed chemicals “known to the State of California to cause cancer...
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“We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy”

How the EU’s New Data Protection Law is Changing Data Policy Considerations for American Retailers
If you have ever made an online purchase, chances are that you have received at least one  email  in the last month notifying you that a company’s privacy policy has changed. These emails are part of efforts to comply with the  General Data Protection Regulation (known as the “GDPR&rdquo...
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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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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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Update: Tip Pooling by Restaurant Owners Remains in Flux

This past April, we reported on a recent Ninth Circuit ruling which upheld a 2011 Department of Labor (“DOL”) rule that prohibits restaurants from instituting tip-pooling arrangements that include both front-of-house staff that are customarily and regularly tipped (such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, and service bartenders) and back-of-house staff...
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Surprises For International Retailers Coming to the USA

We are all aware that stateside landlords long for that new, fresh idea—something they can show off at their mall or street location and that can’t be found in every mall in every city in the country. Successful international retailers are aware of this potentially lucrative avenue to increase...
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The Ascendency of Accessibility: Surge in Website Lawsuits Continues

The proliferation of accessibility lawsuits under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has not abated. It is well-documented that ADA-related litigation increased by 37% from 2015 to 2016, which is symptomatic of long-term trends. Growth is fueled in part by litigants’ increased focus on internet-based technologies...
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May your Days be Merry and Blue Laws Compliant

‘Tis the season to eat turkey, drink pumpkin-flavored lattes, and, of course, shop.  With Black Friday and the holiday season just around the corner, it is important for retailers to remember that Massachusetts has specific laws that restrict when and if businesses can operate on Sundays and holidays and...
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FACTA Check: Credit and Debit Receipts Can Show Injury-in-Fact

In a series of recent decisions that have important implications for retailers, large and small, federal courts have allowed consumer class actions to proceed against businesses for violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”), even where the consumers did not allege actual damages resulting from the...
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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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Claims about Biodegradable Plastics Breakdown Under FTC Scrutiny: Marketers Beware!

In the recent administrative proceeding before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against ECM Biofilms, Inc. (ECM), the FTC’s presiding chief administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that the plastics additive manufacturer ECM violated the FTC Act by deceptively claiming, and providing others with the means to claim, that plastics treated...
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