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Clothing Companies Spin a Yarn with Commercial Invoices, Resulting in $13.4 Million in Fines for Customs Violations

Be skeptical of suppliers offering to “help” keep duties low. Thoroughly investigate any indications of double invoicing. Two China-based clothing manufacturers, Motives Far East and Motives China Limited, and their affiliated US importer, Motives, Incorporated (collectively “Motives”), agreed to pay nearly $13.4 million for engaging in a double invoicing scheme designed to defraud the United States out of millions of dollars in customs duties, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations directorate, and US Customs

Name That Circuit Split: Nominative Fair Use in the Second Circuit

In the recent case of International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium v. Security University, LLC, the Second Circuit articulated its test for analyzing nominative fair use claims in trademark infringement cases. While we now know the Second Circuit’s test, the case also highlights a notable circuit split between the Ninth, Second, and Third Circuits regarding nominative fair use. As a result, companies intending to rely on a nominative fair use defense may have varying success depending on the jurisdiction.

Triple Threat: Chinese Ad Company’s Malware Raises Ad Fraud, Cybersecurity, and Privacy Concerns

What’s New? Recent reports indicate that advertising fraud is not only increasing but is now being run by groups alongside otherwise legitimate advertising businesses.    Cybersecurity company Check Point recently released a report finding that HummingBad—a known malware that takes over Android devices, generates fraudulent advertising revenue, and installs apps on the infected phones—was developed and is controlled by a group of cybercriminals within Yingmob, an otherwise legitimate advertising analytics business based in Beijing.   

California Retailers: Use of Thermal Receipt Paper Gets Costly

The first NOV involving register receipts was issued by the Center for Environmental Health against a restaurant in Lake Forest  California retailers appear to have two options: post warning signs in the store or switch to electronic receipts or BPA-free paper Since May 11, 2016, consumer products sold in California that contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) require a Proposition 65 Warning Notice at the point of sale or on the products themselves.

Employers May Have to Include Pay-in-Lieu of Benefits In Regular Rate for Overtime

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay employees overtime based on their “regular rate.” Various states, including California, also follow the FLSA regular rate definitions. For non-exempt employees paid only on an hourly rate, determining the regular rate is easy: It is the hourly rate. However, matters can be tricky when an employer also pays non-exempt employees additional compensation, such as bonuses or commissions. In many cases, additional amounts paid must be included in determining the regular rate.

EU Reg Would Ban Retail Companies From Using Geo-Tracking In Online Shopping

Under a proposed EU regulation, online retail companies in Europe may no longer be able to use geo-tracking in online shopping.

Walgreens Settles Pricing Dispute After New York’s Years Long Investigation

What’s the News Walgreens recently settled with the state of New York over allegations that the drug retail chain misled consumers with its pricing, including value and clearance prices. According to the New York attorney general’s office, an undercover investigation showed that Walgreens was overcharging customers compared to the prices displayed in print advertising and on-shelf tags. Walgreens agreed to pay $500,000 to settle the dispute and has agreed to review and correct the allegedly misleading pricing practices.

San Francisco Mandates Employers Provide Paid Parental Leave

California has myriad laws giving employees the ability to take various paid or unpaid leaves. Some cities impose even broader paid sick leave mandates. Now, starting January 1, 2017, larger employers with employees working in San Francisco will have to provide employees with paid parental leave to bond with a new child. On July 1, 2017, the ordinance expands to cover smaller employers.  

Retailer Cashes In On Refund Claims for Unredeemed Store Credits

Store credits not redeemable for cash are not unclaimed property under California's Unclaimed Property Law (UPL). In Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. v. Chiang, Case No. 37-2014-12491 (Super Ct. San Diego, Cal. Mar. 4, 2016), the Superior Court issued summary judgment in favor of the national retail chain, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., holding that merchandise credits not redeemable for cash are not subject to the UPL and also qualify for an exemption under the UPL for gift certificates that do not expire.  

These Prices are Healthy?!: GNC Sued for Alleged Fake Pricing

What’s the News? A recent lawsuit filed against GNC serves as a reminder that companies need to ensure that prices listed as “regular prices” are substantiated.