The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently reached a settlement with Bollman Hat Company over claims that its hats are made in the United States. According to the FTC complaint, Bollman marketed its hats with unqualified statements claiming U.S. origin, including “American Made Matters” and “Choose American,” and the hashtags #americanmadematters, #madeintheusa, and #buyamerican. The FTC alleged that these statements were not merely American-centric messages, but instead implied that Bollman’s products were made in the United States. However, more than 70% of Bollman’s hat styles are wholly imported as finished products, and the remaining hats contain significant imported content.
TIP: To support an unqualified “Made in USA” claim, a product must be “all or virtually all made in the United States.” In determining whether a product has met the “all or virtually all” standard,” the FTC will look at several factors, including where the final assembly or processing step takes place, the origin of major components of the product, the proportion of the product’s total manufacturing costs that are attributable to U.S. parts and processing, and how far removed from the finished product any foreign content is.