Partner John Villafranco
co-authored the InsideCounsel
article, "Flying the Flag: Meeting the FTC's "Made in USA" Claim Requirements." A U.S. origin claim can be a powerful marketing tool in today's economy where increased emphasis has been placed on supporting American jobs and growth. However, a U.S. origin claim, like any other objective advertising claim, must be truthful and substantiated, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has jurisdiction to act against any false claims. The FTC has long held that a given product with an unqualified U.S. origin claim must be "all or virtually all made in the United States." Yet this is less straightforward in practice, and determining this involves evaluating a number of factors of the products' creation process.
John advised advertisers to proceed with care prior to placing an American flag or other indicator to claim U.S. origin on their product, since these issues are regularly targets of the FTC, competitor and consumer challenges. With careful consideration of the domestic contribution to the end product, many products can claim domestic origin as long as the claim is tailored to avoid overstating.