A few weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached an agreement with Williams-Sonoma over a lawsuit alleging that it listed multiple products as being “Made in USA” that were made in China and other countries and that it was violating a prior FTC order regarding such claims. According to the FTC’s press release, Williams-Sonoma agreed to “the largest-ever civil penalty seen in a ‘Made in USA’ case” ($3.175 million), to annual compliance certifications, and to the following requirements:

  • Restriction on unqualified claims: Williams-Sonoma will be prohibited from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims for any product, unless it can show that the product’s final assembly or processing—and all significant processing—takes place in the U.S., and that all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in them U.S.
  • Requirement for qualified claims: The company is required to include in any qualified Made in USA claims a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing.
  • Requirement for assembly claims: The company must also ensure, when claiming a product is assembled in the U.S., that it is last substantially transformed in the U.S., its principal assembly takes place in the U.S., and U.S. assembly operations are substantial.

As a reminder, the FTC maintains strict requirements for advertising products using “Made in the USA” or similar statements. Additional guidance from a prior blog post can be found here.