Made in the USA Brand, LLC recently agreed to discontinue advertising claims related to its “Made in the USA” seal after the Federal Trade Commission alleged that the certification mark deceived consumers. According to the FTC’s complaint, Made in the USA Brand licensed its certification mark to any business that paid its annual fees, without conducting any independent verification that the particular products were made in the United States or disclosing that the company licensees had actually self-certified. Under the proposed settlement agreement, Made in the USA Brand cannot claim any products or companies meet a certification standard without an independent and objective evaluation. Alternatively, Made in the USA Brand must modify its seal to disclose that the products displaying the logo are self-certified.
Tip: The FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S.-Origin Claims requires that products advertised or labeled as “Made in USA” must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States. This recent settlement confirms the FTC’s position that it is deceptive to misrepresent that a product has been certified by an independent third party when that company has not done anything to independently verify the basis for the certification.