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The truth about false advertising claims

Sep 4, 2020 | Intellectual Property

The advertising industry is massive; companies spend billions of dollars on campaigns designed to sell products or services and increase brand awareness. Considering how much businesses put into advertising, false advertising claims could prove to be disastrous.

As a business owner, you should understand what you can do to ensure you do not violate state or federal regulations, as well as what can happen if you face accusations of false advertising.

Complying with advertising laws

There are numerous regulations concerning truthful advertising claims. Depending on the service or product you are selling, there could be especially strict rules for what you can or cannot say and whether you need to back up statements with scientific evidence.

But generally speaking, ads must be:

  • Fair
  • Truthful
  • Supported by evidence
  • Free of hidden fees and misused terms (like “free” or “organic”)
  • An accurate depiction of the production or service

While we cannot explain all the details and requirements for Minnesota businesses in the context of a blog post, owners and employers have options to ensure they are in compliance. One option would be to have dedicated workers with this knowledge on staff. Another option could be talking to an intellectual property attorney about potential issues or questions you may have.

It is also important to note that because advertising efforts can span mediums and change over time, it can be prudent to revisit strategies and opportunities regularly to ensure they continue to align with state and federal laws.

Responding to false allegations claims

If you do find yourself defending against false advertising claims, you must take the accusations seriously. Possible penalties for running deceptive or false ads include fines and orders to either take down the ad or take out new ads to correct the misleading ads.

Not only do these consequences have financial ramifications, but they can also harm a business’s reputation in the marketplace.

There are defenses to these claims, like providing supporting documentation. However, preventing challenges in the first place by adding disclaimers or changing the wording in an ad can be best.

Advertising can make or break a company. With so much at stake, ensuring your efforts and dollars are used wisely is critical.

 

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