The Elephant in the Womb: FSANZ Calls for Submissions on Proposed Mandatory Pregnancy Warning Labels on Alcoholic Beverages

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has recently called for submissions on proposed mandatory warning labels to inform consumers of the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant. Despite the Australian and New Zealand governments regularly issuing health warnings against consuming alcohol while pregnant, recent studies conducted by FSANZ have found that consumers do not recognise that drinking “small amounts” of alcohol is also dangerous to foetuses, and considerably increases the risk of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum …

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Not Bhed, Good Trade Mark: Infringement, Ten Seconds In?

It was recently reported that the man behind the “not bhed, good syze” fishing video is taking steps to trade mark the catchphrase that made him a viral sensation in Australia.  With the video’s star now capitalising on his new found fame, including starring in an advertisement for a space rental start-up, this has left many wondering whether they will have to refrain from uttering their favourite phrase, or otherwise run the risk of infringing …

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Therapeutic Goods Administration Flexing Muscles on Prohibited Advertising

A series of recent enforcement actions and announcements by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) indicate that the regulator is actively monitoring and prosecuting businesses for breaches of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No. 2) 2018 (TG Advertising Code) and Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (TG Act). These enforcement actions include: successfully prosecuting a business in the Federal Court of Australia, resulting in a financial penalty of AUD 10 million, for advertising peptide products: in breach of …

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These Schemes Ain’t Loyal says ACCC Draft Report on Customer Loyalty Schemes

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently released its draft report on customer loyalty schemes, which has raised concerns about the actual benefit to consumers of such schemes and the use (or rather misuse) of consumers’ data. Preliminary Findings and Concerns At a high level, the ACCC’s main concerns (as set out in the report) focus on the following key areas: whether consumers actually receive the benefits advertised by customer loyalty schemes; unilateral changes …

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Subscribed, Sealed, Delivered – Embracing the Subscription Box Retail Model

The Australian retail sector is experiencing significant structural change – and this leaves businesses with no choice other than to start thinking outside the box…or rather think about the box itself… Enter the subscription box. By paying a regular fee, subscribers can receive a recurring delivery of products, often picked for the customer by the supplier.  This model has gained traction in the US with several large clothing and accessory brands rolling out subscription services …

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No More Sugar Coating: Government Orders Review of Nutrition Labelling for Added Sugars

They say you are what you eat…. But it’s doubtful that most Australians would be comfortable saying that they are the 10 (or more) teaspoons of sugar they consumed in their last can of soft drink.  However, we may well soon be confronted with these images given that labelling that displays this information pictorially is set to be considered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) as part of a recently announced review of nutritional …

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2019 A.D. – The post-influencer age?

Social media influencers have become a key weapon in the armoury of advertisers and can be successfully used to drive consumer engagement with a product offering.  However, are we entering a ‘post-influencer age’? Only recently, the Australian Federal Government announced that they would no longer use influencer marketing for any government department campaigns after it came to light that influencers working with the government had previously endorsed alcohol and “extreme dieting” products. Similarly, with a number …

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National flags and symbols = public property?

In honour of NAIDOC Week 2019 (7 – 14 July), this post considers recent coverage of IP rights surrounding the Aboriginal flag. National flags and symbols are useful marketing tools that are often used by businesses to tap into the national consciousness or demonstrate certain values or attributes of a product offering. However, recent media coverage surrounding the ownership and use of the Aboriginal flag has highlighted limitations that exist when such flags and other …

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Prize Promotions Around the World: Launch of new edition

The fourth edition of DLA Piper’s popular Prize Promotions Around the World online guide is now available.  The guide has been fully updated and also includes four new jurisdictions, to bring the total coverage to 39 jurisdictions. Prize promotions (including promotional sweepstakes and skill competitions) remain a hugely popular marketing tool used globally by organisations to engage with customers.  The internet and social media platforms make this an attractive, cost efficient means of reaching a …

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Back to school: Consumer rights training required

The fast-paced retail environment poses a high risk for businesses to make false, misleading or deceptive representations about products and consumer rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).  With the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) having the power to impose considerable pecuniary penalties, businesses should be aware of their obligations under the ACL and ensure that staff are given adequate training. Consumer Guarantees The ACL provides that certain guarantees attach to goods and services …

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Trade prize promotions: You’ve got to be in it to win it!

You’ve seen them before in magazines, newspapers and when you walk into stores, “Tell us in 25 words or less why you love our product” and “leave your details for your chance to go into a draw to win a holiday!” Trade prize promotions are competitions or lotteries run by businesses to help increase sales and develop their customer base. While these types of promotions are permissible in Australia, the States and Territories have different …

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Online marketing and trade marks: To infringe, or not to infringe?

…Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of poor searchability, Or to take arms against a sea of competitors (with SEO and Adwords) As online visibility becomes essential for connecting with consumers, businesses are increasingly investing in measures to improve traffic on their websites. Some of these include acquiring strategic domain names, using search engine optimisation services, and paid search engine advertising. However, in employing these measures, it is important …

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ACCC update: 2019 compliance and enforcement priorities announced

Last week, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) announced its annual compliance and enforcement priorities for 2019. The list included a number of priorities that are particularly relevant and important for retail and consumer-facing businesses, including: consumer guarantees, particularly in relation to high value white goods and electrical goods; customer loyalty schemes; advertising practices on social media platforms; collection and use of consumer data; and franchising arrangements. This announcement comes as a timely reminder …

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Don’t believe the hype: Online ratings and reviews under the microscope

Online ratings and reviews are perceived as a low cost, transparent and real-time way for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and can therefore be highly influential. Over the past year, there have been a number of enforcement actions successfully brought by the ACCC for businesses manipulating reviews or ratings that appear on their website, or third party review platforms. There has been much media focus on online ratings and reviews both in Australia and …

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