The FTC has limited resources. Knowing what it has focused on in the last year can give you a sense of the types of issues that might be more likely to trigger a FTC inquiry. As Chairwoman Ramirez recently explained, in 2012, the Agency brought actions in the following areas:
- Privacy, especially in the digital arena
- Data security failures, collecting personal information and children’s online privacy;
- Health care mergers and anti-competitive health care provider conduct;
- Standard setting and pharmaceutical pay-for-delay patent settlements;
- Health and safety claims;
- Business opportunity and “get rich quick” schemes;
- Tech support scams; and
- Marketing of healthier food choices to children and teens.
As can be seen, health care antitrust, privacy, health claims and marketing to children continue to be important areas of focus for the Commission. There is no reason to believe that this will change in 2013. If your company operates in any of these areas, it should proceed with caution.
Additionally, as consumers become bombarded with more online and mobile advertising, the Commission will continue to be concerned about marketing in this new media. Indeed, the Commission recently updated its .com Disclosures to include, among other things, examples of adequate disclosures in mobile contexts. An upcoming blog post will address some of the highlights from this guide.