Empire TV Show Gets to Keep Its Name

Twentieth Century Fox v. Empire Distribution

Facts: TV show used "Empire" as show name and as fictional record label. The show also sells music soundtracks.

Question: Can the show continue using the name "Empire," given that there is an "Empire Distribution," which is a record label, music distributor, and publishing company?

Holding:

  • Fox can continue to sue "Empire."
  • Court doesn't use the standard trademark infringement test since it is "artistic work."
  • Under First Amendment, show: (1) uses the name "Empire" with "artistic relevance"; and (2) has not explicitly misled consumers about an affiliation with the record company.

​FTC Files Complaint Against “Made in the USA” Advertising Claims

FTC v. Chemence, Inc

Ad Claim:

Click here to view image.

FTC's Allegation: A significant proportion (approximately 55%) of the cost of the chemical inputs to Defendant's products is from imported chemicals, which are essential to the function of Defendant's products, and thus, the products are not "Made in the USA."

Ultimate Issue:

  • FTC seeks to enforce its "Guides," which are not law but FTC's opinion of the law.
  • FTC seeks an injunction and monetary relief.

​NAD Decision Regarding Advertising Demonstration

In re P&G (#5818C)

Ad Claim: A side-by-side demonstration shows a pan washed with "tablets" on the left and a pan washed with "Cascade Platinum" on the right, as the voiceover states: "Dish issues? Trust your dishwasher with Cascade Platinum. It powers through your toughest stuck-on food better than Finish!"

NAD Holding: Increasing the size and contrast of the "baked alfredo" disclosure and more clearly specifying the object of comparison (i.e, Cascade Platinum versus Finish All-In-One Powerball) are necessary.

NAD Reasoning: The stain (alfredo sauce) is identified by a dinner guest and the pan washed with Finish is only marginally dirtier than the pan washed with Cascade.


NAD/NARB Reviews Advertising Claims Regarding “Time in a Bottle” Age-­Defying Serum

In re Philosophy Inc. (#5765C)

Ad Claim: "In 8 weeks: 88% showed a dramatic reduction in the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles."

Facts: It wasliterally true that 88 percent of subjects showed improvement in facial lines/wrinkles after eight weeks. However, the mean percent improvement was only 5.22 percent.

Decision: Results were statistically significant, but they fell short of a "dramatic" improvement, such that the claim should be modified.


Blue Buffalo Agrees to $32 Million Class Action Settlement

In re Blue Buffalo Company Ltd.

Facts: Blue Buffalo's true blue promise was that its brand of pet food conta[ned: (1) "NO chicken or poultry by-products" and (2) "NO corn, wheat or soy."

Class Allegations: Non-Olympic Independent tests showed that some products did, in fact, contain chicken and poultry by-products, as well as rice and corn.

Resolution:

  • $32 million settlement.
  • Blue Buffalo denied wrongdoing and claimed result of misconduct of former ingredient supplier, against which Blue Buffalo is pursuing claims.