Wendel Rosen's Intellectual Property Blog

There’s a Wrinkle in Your Advertising Claims: L’Oréal Settles with the FTC

L’Oreal’s Deceptive Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) accused L’Oréal of making deceptive advertising claims regarding the benefits of two of its product lines. L’Oréal claimed that its Génifique facial skincare products were “clinically proven” to “[b]oost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins” that would cause “visibly rejuvenated skin in just 7 days” and would provide results to specific percentages of users. See Image 1 below. Similarly, L’Oréal claimed that its Youth Code facial skincare products could combat the effects of aging by targeting specific genes to make skin act younger and respond five times faster to aggressors such as stress, fatigue, and aging. See Image 2 below. The FTC asserted that L’Oréal’s representations were not substantiated at the time the representations were made. Given the FTC’s allegations, L’Oréal agreed to settle the dispute.

Lancome Genifique

IMAGE 1

L'Oreal Youth Code

IMAGE 2

The Settlement

With a slap on the silky wrist, L’Oreal agreed that it will cease:

  1. All claims that any of its product boosts the activity of genes or targets specific genes that would result in skin that looks younger or acts younger or cause skin to respond five times faster to aggressors such as stress, fatigue, and aging unless the claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence;
  2. All claims that certain products affect genes unless the claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence; and
  3. All claims about its products that misrepresent the results of any test or study.

Take-Away

Be careful with overzealous marketing claims. All product claims must be true and require substantiation.

Here are 11 Ways To Avoid Advertising Missteps as described in a prior IP Legal Forum post.

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