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Federal Trade Commission

FTC Charges Operators of Jerk . com With Deceiving Consumers

Posted: Monday, Apr 7, 2014 @ 12:00 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Federal Trade Commission, Government, IP News, Articles

The Federal Trade Commission charged the operators of the website “” with harvesting personal information from Facebook to create profiles labeling people a “Jerk” or “not a Jerk,” then falsely claiming that consumers could revise their online profiles by paying $30. According to the FTC’s complaint, between 2009 and 2013 the defendants, Jerk, LLC and the operator of the website, John Fanning, created profiles for more than 73 million people, including children.

In its complaint, the FTC charges that the defendants violated the FTC Act by misleading consumers that the content on had been created by other users, when in fact most of it had been harvested from Facebook; and by falsely leading consumers to believe that by paying for a membership, they could access “premium” features that could allow them to change their “Jerk” profile.

The FTC is seeking an order barring the defendants’ deceptive practices, prohibiting them from using the personal information they improperly obtained, and requiring them to delete the information.

“In today’s interconnected world, people are especially concerned about their reputation online, and this deceptive scheme was a brazen attempt to exploit those concerns,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Patent Legislation Gives FTC Power to Regulate Demand Letters

Posted: Monday, Mar 31, 2014 @ 8:46 am | Written by Andrew Baluch | 18 comments
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Posted in: Congress, Federal Trade Commission, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patent Reform, Patents

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee held another meeting on patent reform legislation.  A markup of Senator Leahy’s bill (S. 1720, “Patent Transparency and Improvements Act”) may happen as early as this week.  During Thursday’s meeting Senator Leahy, who Chairs the Committee, indicated a willingness to incorporate in his bill other provisions from Senator Cornyn’s and Senator Hatch’s bills.

Momentum is clearly building for more patent legislation, but the myriad bills and provisions make it difficult even for folks close to Capitol Hill to keep track of them all.  To fill that need, today’s post is part of a series of articles based on the white paper, Patent Reform 2014. has already published articles on Joinder of Interested Parties and Loser-Pays Fee-Shifting. Today’s focus is on the proposed FTC enforcement provisions found in several pending bills.

In September 2013, Senator Klobuchar’s staff circulated draft language that would require the FTC to initiate a rulemaking proceeding, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. §553, to prohibit the assertion or enforcement of patents in a manner that is an unfair method of competition, or unfair or deceptive act or practice, under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45).

Biotech and Pharma Update: January 2014

Posted: Friday, Jan 31, 2014 @ 1:50 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Federal Trade Commission, Food & Drug Administration, Gene Quinn, Hatch-Waxman, IP News, Articles, Pharmaceutical, Technology & Innovation

What follows below is a review of some of the biotech and pharma news stories that caught my attention during the month of January 2014. Please also see Protecting IP is NOT ‘Satanic Genocide’, written by Dr. Kristina Lybecker.


All-Oral, Interferon-Free Therapy for the Treatment of Hepatitis C Genotype 1

On January 31, 2014, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) announced the completion of its phase III clinical program and released results of four additional studies designed to assess AbbVie’s investigational all-oral, interferon-free therapy with and without ribavirin (RBV) in patients with chronic genotype 1 (GT1) hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. These results described below confirm previously reported AbbVie data and further demonstrate high sustained virologic response rates 12 weeks post treatment (SVR12) and tolerability in these GT1 patients. Even in difficult-to-treat patients (cirrhotic patients) achieved 92-96 percent SVR(12) rates.

The AbbVie investigational regimen consists of the fixed-dose combination of ABT-450/ritonavir (150/100mg) co-formulated with ABT-267 (25mg), dosed once daily, and ABT-333 (250mg) with or without ribavirin (weight-based), dosed twice daily. The combination of three different mechanisms of action interrupts the HCV replication process with the goal of optimizing SVR rates across different patient populations.

Biotech and Pharma Update: News for December 2013

Posted: Friday, Dec 27, 2013 @ 7:55 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Federal Trade Commission, Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Pharmaceutical

What follows below is a review of some of the biotech and pharma news stories that caught my attention during the month of December 2013. I also recommend you take a look at Protecting Data Exclusivity, Protecting the Future of Medicine, written by Dr. Kristina Lybecker.

  1. Actavis Confirms Generic NuvaRing® Patent Challenge
  2. Fitch Puts Negative Outlook on Bristol-Myers
  3. Agios Pharmaceuticals Added to NASDAQ Biotechnology Index
  4. AstraZeneca Loses at the Federal Circuit on Omeprazole
  5. Amgen Announces Positive Results From 52-Week Phase 3 Study Of Evolocumab
  6. Merck and GSK Collaborate on Regimen for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma
  7. Mylan Acquires Rights to LAMA Respiratory Compound from Pfizer
  8. Mylan Enters Settlement Agreement for First-to-File Generic Version of TARGRETIN®
  9. Teva and Pfizer Settle  Viagra® Patent Dispute
  10. Everett Laboratories Acquires Quinnova Pharmaceuticals
  11. Savient Receives Bankruptcy Approval to Sell Assets to Crealta Pharmaceuticals
  12. FTC Settles with Mylan over Agila Acquisition
  13. Absorption Pharmaceuticals, Kaiser Permanente Clinical Trial of Promescent®
  14. Imagenetix Patent Survives Reexamination
  15. Actavis Announces Agreement on Asacol® HD Patent Challenge Litigation
  16. FDA Fast Tracks Savara Pharmaceuticals Antibiotic AeroVanc to treat MRSA
  17. Fitch Gives Johnson & Johnson AAA Rating
  18. Purdue Pharma, Impax Labs Settle OxyContin Patent Litigation
  19. Sales of Antiretroviral Drugs for HIV Predicted to Decrease

Android Flashlight App Developer Settles FTC Charges It Deceived Consumers

Posted: Thursday, Dec 5, 2013 @ 2:31 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | No Comments »
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Posted in: Federal Trade Commission, IP News, Articles, Smartphones

The creator of one of the most popular apps for Android mobile devices has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the free app, which allows a device to be used as a flashlight, deceived consumers about how their geolocation information would be shared with advertising networks and other third parties.

Goldenshores Technologies, LLC, managed by Erik M. Geidl, is the company behind the “Brightest Flashlight Free” app, which has been downloaded tens of millions of times by users of the Android operating system. The FTC’s complaint alleges that the company’s privacy policy deceptively failed to disclose that the app transmitted users’ precise location and unique device identifier to third parties, including advertising networks. In addition, the complaint alleges that the company deceived consumers by presenting them with an option to not share their information, even though it was shared automatically rendering the option meaningless.

FTC Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed Patent Assertion Entity Study

Posted: Friday, Nov 22, 2013 @ 1:24 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | No Comments »
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Posted in: Federal Trade Commission, IP News, Articles, Patent Litigation, Patent Trolls, Patents

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the deadline for public comments on its proposed study of patent assertion entities (PAEs), which it announced on September 27.  To provide additional time for interested parties to submit comments on the proposed study, the deadline has been extended throughDecember 16, 2013. The Commission will not consider requests for further extension. Comments can be submitted electronically.

PAEs are firms with a business model based primarily on buying patents and then attempting to generate revenue by asserting the intellectual property against persons who are already practicing the patented technologies. The FTC is conducting the study in order to further one of the agency’s key missions — to examine cutting-edge competition and consumer protection topics that may have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.

FTC Chairwoman Testifies in House on Antitrust, Patents

Posted: Friday, Nov 15, 2013 @ 1:21 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Antitrust, Congress, Federal Trade Commission, IP News, Articles, Patent Trolls, Patents

In testimony presented to a U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee the Federal Trade Commission described its ongoing efforts to protect competition and consumers in many important sectors of the economy, including health care, pharmaceuticals, and technology.

Testifying on behalf of the FTC before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Laws, Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said that, “In an effort to be most effective with limited resources, we pay particular attention to sectors where our action will provide the greatest benefit to the largest number of consumers. Chief among those are health care and the technology sector.”

The testimony outlines the FTC’s critical work promoting competition in health care markets, noting that health care consolidation can threaten to undermine efforts to control rising health care costs. Examples of FTC actions to prevent anticompetitive health care mergers include litigation involving proposed hospital mergers that threaten higher prices and lower quality of care, as well as divestitures in pharmaceutical mergers to preserve competition and maintain competitive pricing for needed medications.

FTC Settles Deceptive Environmental Claims for Mattresses

Posted: Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 @ 2:13 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | No Comments »
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Posted in: Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, IP News, Articles

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved final consent orders in three cases involving allegedly deceptive environmental claims for mattresses. The FTC’s complaints, first announced in July, 2013, against Relief-Mart, Inc.; Esssentia Natural Memory Foam Company, Inc.; and Ecobaby Organics, Inc., charged the companies with making unsupported claims that the mattresses they sell are free of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The FTC also charged that two of the companies made unsupported claims that their mattresses were chemical-free and odorless.  The FTC also challenged one company’s claim that its mattresses are made from 100 percent natural materials, and another company’s claim that its mattresses were certified by an organic mattress organization.

In settling the Commission’s charges, the companies have agreed not to make similar claims in the future, unless they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to prove they are true. In addition, Ecobaby is barred from making misrepresentations about certifications.