The FTC continues to investigate companies that it believes are making unsubstantiated "Made in USA" claims. In December alone, the FTC issued closing letters in at least five separate "Made in USA" investigations. These cases serve as an important reminder that "Made in USA" is a top priority right now at the FTC. The FTC's closing letters also provide some useful guidance for marketers.
Advertisers agreed to remove unqualified "Made in USA" key words from Google AdWords in two of the cases (Diggers Pool Services and High Technology). This suggests that the FTC may consider using key words that contain unsubstantiated claims to be a deceptive practice.
The FTC also told advertisers in two of the cases that it believed that their "Made in USA" claims were deceptive because of "significant" foreign content (Watchfire Signs and Maingear), notwithstanding the fact that the advertisers had significant US operations. In one case involving LED signs, the products were designed, assembled, and supported in the US. In another case involving computers, the products were designed, finished, tested, and supported in the the US.
Marketers and manufacturers that promote their products as Made in USA must meet the “all or virtually all” standard