The Supreme Court handed down a far reaching decision throwing out an attempt by Congress to deny the benefits conferred by federal law on same sex couples legally married under state law holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), as so applied, constituted a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons protected by the Fifth Amendment. In so doing, and perhaps without realizing it, the Supreme Court was also writing an important copyright case.Continue Reading DOMA goes down – Copyright goes up – U.S. v. Windsor, Supreme Court, No. 12-307, decided June 26, 2013

On September 14, 2012, the Indian government announced that it would relax restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. India—a country that traditionally excluded foreign investment—opened its doors to global supermarkets, such as Wal-Mart and Tesco. While the decision still must clear bureaucratic hurdles, American retailers welcome the opportunity to capitalize on one of the world’s largest consumer markets. On November 27, 2012, India’s federal government indicated for the first time that it may be open to a vote in parliament on the issue.Continue Reading “Reforming Retail: India Allows FDI in Multi-Brand Retail”

On April 12, 2011, United States Senators John Kerry and John McCain formally proposed the Kerry-McCain Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 ("CPBRA"). This proposed legislation would apply to all retailers, including those in the fashion, beauty, and apparel industries, that request and record their customers’ personal information. If passed in its current form, the CPBRA would preempt similar state laws, would not provide a private right of action upon which an individual claim could be based, and would cap penalties at $3 million. While that is good news in light of the burgeoning class action privacy-related litigation filed against companies by private plaintiffs under state consumer protection laws, compliance with the CPBRA could potentially be onerous because the CPBRA replaces industry self-regulation with government regulation.
 Continue Reading Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder And New Commercial Privacy Legislation Is Before The U.S. Senate

As it becomes increasingly common to find "green" environmentally-friendly products on retailers’ shelves, the Federal Trade Commission is taking active steps to guarantee the legitimacy of "green" labeling and ensure that such labels do in fact represent accurate descriptions of the products’ environmental benefits. Consequently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is about to release updated "Green Guides," which are expected to narrowly redefine and limit companies’ and marketers’ abilities to make environmental claims about their products. Once the updated guides are released, they will be the first environmental-marketing guidelines to be issued in the past twelve years. Currently, there are approximately 300 products and packages on the market stamped with environment seals of approval, such as "recyclable" or "chemical free." Experts are predicting that the new Guides could render many labels such as these useless, or even more drastically, in violation of the new Federal Trade Commission standards.Continue Reading An End to “Greenwashing?”: The Federal Trade Commission’s Efforts to “Wash Away” Deceptive Advertising

Hardly a day passes without new revelations about global FCPA investigations. In just the past ten days, cases involving companies as diverse as Hewlett-Packard, BHP Billiton and Avon have been reported. Earlier this year 22 individuals were arrested simultaneously on two continents in a global FCPA sting operation, the first of its kind. The U.S. Department of Justice reportedly has 140 active FCPA investigations underway.
 Continue Reading FCPA: The Latest Trend in Fashion

On June 1st, 2008, New York lawmakers put into effect a law that narrows the online tax exemption and sends a clear message to online retailers: You’re either in or you’re out.  New York wants retailers "in" so that they can collect NY sales tax.  Retailers want to remain "out" in order to keep the online tax exemption and avoid the costs associated with collecting sales taxes from customers.Continue Reading You’re Either In or You’re Out, New York Tells Online Retailers

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) truck diver Hours of Services ("HOS") rule that regulates the amount of time commercial truck drivers can operate their vehicles (Owner-Operator v. FMCSA, 494 F.3d 188 (D.C. Cir. 2007)).  The current HOS rules, which were adopted in October 2005, provide for a daily driving limit of eleven hours followed by a ten hour rest period.  Also, pursuant to the current rules, truck drivers may restart their weekly count of hours after they have taken a break of thirty-four hours.  In its decision, the court reduced the maximum driving time to ten hours a day followed by an eight hour rest period and vacated the thirty-four hour restart provision in order to ensure highway safety and protect driver health. Continue Reading New Trucking Rules Could Make Goods Fashionably Late