Linda Goldstein Comments on FTC Commissioners' Differing Views Regarding Lenovo Settlement

News / September 18, 2017

Partner Linda Goldstein is quoted in an article published Sept. 15, 2017, in FTCWatch. The article, “Lenovo Settles but FTC Splits over Nuances in ‘Deceptive Omission’ Case,” discusses the recent settlement the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached with computer maker Lenovo over preinstalled software on laptops sold to consumers. FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Commissioner Terrell McSweeney agreed on the necessity for the complaint against Lenovo but had different opinions regarding the agency’s authority to deal with deceptive omissions.

“It may be a difference of opinion on consumer injury and perhaps a difference in opinion as to whether exposing consumers to those ads rises to the level of consumer injury,” Goldstein told FTCWatch. “It reflects at least on the part of acting Chairman Ohlhausen a commitment to differentiate between conduct that she believes is really injurious to consumers versus conduct that she doesn’t believe causes actual injury.”

Goldstein added that a takeaway for the advertising community is Ohlhausen’s view that “subjecting consumers to advertising may be a nuisance but does not rise to the level of consumer injury and that the commission will, going forward, focus its resources more on instances of actual injury versus something that may be undesirable to a consumer but not necessarily injurious to the consumer.”

Read the article (registration required).