Efforts To Dismiss BIPA Claims Involving Virtual Try-On Technology Rejected by Illinois Federal Court

In a significant decision for retailers, Judge Manish Shah of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently denied in part Defendant Estée Lauder’s motion to dismiss proposed class action claims that its consumer “try-on” technology violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”).  The Court rejected Defendant’s personal jurisdiction argument, as well as claims that its website terms and conditions required Plaintiff to arbitrate her dispute, and that Plaintiff lacked standing to sue on behalf individuals that used websites Plaintiff herself did not visit. In a decision entitled Kukovec v. The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., Case No. 22-CV-1988 (N.D. Ill.), the Court determined, however, that Plaintiff did not sufficiently plead that the cosmetics giant intentionally or recklessly violated consumers’ biometric privacy rights, and thereby dismissed those claims.  The ruling in Kukovec illustrates the ongoing legal risks for retailers in using “try-on” tech to enhance customer service.

To read the full text of this post by Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Gregory Tsonis and Kelly Bonner, please visit the Duane Morris Class Action Defense Blog.

FTC Publishes Proposed Changes to Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced proposed changes to its Endorsement Guides, 16 CFR Part 255, which assist entities in conforming endorsements and testimonials in advertising to the requirements of Section 5 of the FTC Act. FTC continues to review the guides, first published in 1980, as part of its ongoing regulatory review process.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

INFORM Consumer Act Designed to Curb Counterfeits

In March 2021, the Senate reintroduced a revised version of a bill calling for online retailers to publish specific, verified information concerning high-volume third-party sellers of consumer products for their customers. The Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act is directed toward putting an end to the online sale of stolen, counterfeit and unsafe consumer products.

In particular, online marketplaces that include high-volume third-party sellers would be required to authenticate vendors’ identities through essential identification and contact information in the hopes of preventing not only anonymous online sales of counterfeit goods, but also preventing organized retail crime rings from stealing from stores and reselling items online.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Blockchain and NFTs Are Smart, but Can They Revolutionise the Fashion Industry?

Following the worldwide disruption in retail due to COVID-19, sales of luxury goods are expected to grow as much as 25% in 2022. Much of this growth has been driven by e-commerce, with online sales totalling 23% of all luxury sales in 2020. Meanwhile, consumer sustainability demands have driven growth in luxury resale or rental markets, now worth an estimated $36 billion, while brands have expanded their reach into the brave new digital territory of the metaverse – the overlapping digital spaces in which we increasingly work, play, and consume.

Yet luxury’s digital embrace has been hampered by a concomitant rise in counterfeit goods in the physical and digital worlds.  Is blockchain the solution?

To read the full text of this article co-authored by Duane Morris attorneys Cindy Yang and Kelly Bonner, please visit the Multilaw website.

News For Retailers: New California Law Requires Gender-Neutral Displays for Children’s Items

By Anjuli M. Cargain

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1084, requiring retail department stores in California to maintain a gender-neutral section to display toys and certain childcare items beginning January 1, 2024. The new law applies to retail department stores with 500 or more employees within California that are physically located in California; it expressly excludes out-of-state stores.   Continue reading “News For Retailers: New California Law Requires Gender-Neutral Displays for Children’s Items”

Common U.S. Visa Categories for the Fashion and Design Industries

The fashion and design industries employ individuals in various fields of specialization, both in “back office” design and production and “front office” presentation and merchandising, marketing/advertising and sales. To read the full text of this overview of common nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories allowing employers in these industries to hire and retain foreign talent, written by Duane Morris attorney Susanne Heubel, please visit the Duane Morris Immigration Law Blog.

New “.cfd” Domain Extension Tailored to Capture the Virtual Runway

By Michelle Hon Donovan and Anjuli M. Cargain

ShortDot, a domain name registry company, has announced the launch of .cfd (#ClothingFashionDesign), a specialized generic top-level domain (gTLD) for clothing brands, fashion designers, retailers, influencers, bloggers, consumers and lifestyle ecommerce stores. TLDs were developed in the 1980s and have unique purposes (e.g., .com, commercial; .org, nonprofit organizations; .net, network and internet-related organizations; .edu, educational; .gov, government entities). ShortDot’s webpage for registering the new domain states:

By providing a memorable, unique, and relevant web address, .CFD offers clothing, fashion, cosmetics, and footwear brands and designers a unique opportunity to strengthen their web presence.

Trademark owners can register .cfd domain names during the “sunrise period,” which ends April 12, 2021. Continue reading “New “.cfd” Domain Extension Tailored to Capture the Virtual Runway”

Fashion Companies Targeted by Animal Rights Groups

Michelle C. Pardo, partner and team lead for the Fashion/Retail/Consumer Branded Products Industry Group, is quoted in a Fashion Law article about animal rights groups focusing litigation on certain fashion companies.

From the publication:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is threatening Louis Vuitton with a lawsuit over allegedly “false claims” that the company’s chairman and CEO made in an interview in September. According to a letter addressed to Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Michael Burke on Monday, legal counsel for the animal rights group “demands” that Burke “immediately end [his] false representations that the animals used for Louis Vuitton products ‘are humanely farmed.’” Such comments amount to “fraud,” PETA Foundation deputy general counsel Jared Goodman asserts, citing a potential “consumer fraud action” against the luxury goods company as a result. […]

“In recent years, animal rights groups have focused their litigation efforts on companies that they perceive are popular with consumers and are delivering messages to consumers about positive animal welfare, environmental stewardship and the production of ethically-sourced products,” according to [Ms. Pardo]. “Animal rights groups view this type of labeling and marketing as a threat to their mission. If consumers feel good about the products that they buy, they are less likely to abandon meat, dairy and other products” – including exotic-skinned luxury handbags – “that are eschewed by many animal rights activists.”

To read the full article, visit the Fashion Law website.

How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 2)

Christiane Campbell, partner and team lead of Duane Morris’ Fashion, Retail and Consumer Branded Products Industry Group, and Victoria Danta, Duane Morris attorney, authored the Fashion Mannuscript article, “How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 2).”

They write:

The first part of this article discussed corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how brands and businesses should be mindful in forming partnerships.

In building an influencer partnership, being reactive, as well as proactive, is key. Respond to potential partners that reach out to you while proactively researching potential partners with whom you would like to form a relationship. Have concrete ideas about what you would want to gain from such a relationship before entering it.

If this sounds a bit like dating (or online dating), that is not surprising. A brand-influencer partnership is, quite literally, a relationship that requires investment. In considering how best to invest, also consider which influencers on which platforms are most likely to be able to reach your consumers and form authentic, credible connections with them.

Read the full article.

How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 1)

Christiane Campbell, partner and team lead of Duane Morris’ Fashion, Retail and Consumer Branded Products Industry Group, and Victoria Danta, Duane Morris attorney, authored the Fashion Mannuscript article, “How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 1).”

They write:

What do The Marlboro Man and The Most Interesting Man in the World have in common? They are fictional characters, created in the board room, to shape consumer brand preferences. What do these two fictional characters have in common with the Kardashian sisters? Arguably, they are all “influencers.”

In advertising, an influencer is any individual, celebrity, character or persona perceived by consumers as having specialized knowledge, authority or insight into a particular subject, making them ideal launch pads for brands or new products. While influencers of the past were created by marketing execs, most modern-day influencers are celebrities, bloggers and other content creators with whom consumers feel an authentic connection.

Read the full article.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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