As President Trump tweets about U.S. companies moving manufacturing operations to other countries, and we debate about global trade, many American companies may wish to tout their products and support of American manufacturing through use of “Made in USA” or “Proudly Built in the USA” claims.
But on Feb. 1, Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen made it clear the Federal Trade Commission intends to actively protect consumers from false or misleading “Made in the USA” claims. In the FTC’s news release announcing its settlement with a water-filtration systems distributor, she said:
If a product is advertised or labelled as ‘made’ or ‘built’ in the USA, consumers rightly expect that to be the case when they part with their hard-earned money…This is an important issue for American businesses and their customers, and the FTC will remain vigilant in this area.
So before you wave the American flag in ads, product labels, promotional materials or social media, check out the FTC Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims and related guidelines. Here are the basics:
To avoid unintentionally making an illegal origin claim, it’s important to conduct due diligence before relying on information from suppliers, and by looking at the entire manufacturing process.
Lori Beam is a former member of the board of KCDMA and an attorney at Seigfreid Bingham, PC where she chairs the firm’s Advertising, Marketing and Promotions practice group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.421.4460.
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.