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Textile, Appliance, TV Labeling Regulations to be Updated

Monday, June 26, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Trade Commission is moving to streamline its regulations on textile, appliance, and television labeling as part of its regulatory reform initiative. Additional steps to remove or reduce outdated, excessive, or unnecessary regulations are possible in the future.

Textile Rules. The Textile Rules require marketers to attach a label to a textile product disclosing the manufacturer or marketer name, the country where the product was processed or manufactured, and the generic names and percentages by weight of the fibers in the product. The rules currently allow the owners of registered word trademarks who use them as house marks (distinctive marks used to identify all of a firm’s products) to disclose them on labels in lieu of their business names provided they first file a copy of the trademark’s registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with the FTC.

The FTC is seeking comments by July 31 on a proposed rule that would delete this filing requirement and lift the restriction on the use of word trademarks to only those also employed as house marks. The FTC states that these requirements were promulgated at a time when neither the Commission nor consumers could easily identify the owners of word trademarks (e.g., to address compliance issues) but that such owners can now be easily identified by searching online or via the USPTO website.

Energy Labeling Rule. A final rule will update the Energy Labeling Rule by eliminating obsolete marking requirements for plumbing products, exempting certain ceiling fans from labeling requirements, and updating the labels to cover electric instantaneous water heaters. The Energy Labeling Rule requires yellow EnergyGuide labels on certain appliances that provide consumers with an estimated annual operating cost and an energy consumption rating.

The FTC notes that this rule does not include proposed requirements for EnergyGuide labels for portable air conditioners and large diameter and high-speed small diameter ceiling fans.

Picture Tube Rule. The Picture Tube Rule requires advertisers to base any representation of television screen size on the horizontal dimension of the actual, viewable area unless they disclose the alternative method of measurement clearly and conspicuously. The FTC is seeking comments by Aug. 31 on the economic impact of and continuing need for this rule, its benefits to consumers, and the burdens it places on industry, including small businesses. Among the issues the FTC will consider are changes in television technology, including the incorporation of plasma, LED, OLED, and other similar materials in flat display screens.

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