LIABILITY FOR ‘MADE IN USA’ CLAIMS
In the US, challenges to ‘Made in USA’ and other US origin claims, brought under both federal and state laws, have increased in recent years. Some companies mistakenly believe that a claim of US origin is automatically permissible if a product does not need to be marked with a foreign country of origin pursuant to Tariff Act regulations, but such claims must also meet criteria regarding foreign content and processing.
There is no requirement to disclose the US origin or the amount of US content for most products marketed in the US. A voluntary statement regarding US origin or content may be made, however, if a product meets the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines on Made in USA claims. The FTC policy applies to claims in labelling and advertising, including marketing by means of internet or email.
Under the FTC policy, unqualified US origin claims may not be made unless the product is “all or virtually all” made in the US. This means that all significant components and processing must be of US origin (with no, or negligible, foreign content). To determine the amount of US content, marketers should determine whether there is any “significant” foreign content, which involves knowing the point at which foreign content was incorporated and whether it is a direct part of the finished product.
Oct-Dec 2016 Issue
Keller & Heckman LLP