Last summer, we posted about the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC’) new labeling rule on products that allege to be “Made in USA”, which you can read here. Last week, the FTC used its authority under this rule to bring a complaint against Lithionics Battery LLC and its owner, Steven Tartaglia. Lithionics designs and sells battery products for recreational vehicles, amusement park rides, marine applications and low-speed vehicles. The complaint alleges that Lithionics illegally misrepresented that its lithium ion cells are made in the United States, by labeling its products with an image of an American flag surrounded by the words “Made in U.S.A.” However, despite Lithionics’ assertions, these products are primarily made overseas.
The FTC has asked the court to order Lithionics and its owner to stop making these deceptive claims and to also pay a $100,000 penalty for Lithionics’ past claims. As if the Made in USA labeling rule was not enough, the FTC’s complaint is a clear warning to brands that the FTC is not afraid to take action if a product appears to be in violation of this rule. For more information and detail about the Commission’s complaint, you can read the FTC’s press release here.