Dark Patterns in the Spotlight: When Does Design Become Deception?
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), starting with a workshop in April of 2021, has been increasingly signaling its interest in “dark patterns.”  Recent enforcement actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) have challenged marketing techniques as “dark patterns.”  

According to the FTC and CFPB, companies use websites and apps that employ  tricks and design features to manipulate consumers to take actions they did not necessarily intend to take, such as upgrading a purchase or signing up for an automatically renewing subscription. Drawing the line between illegal “dark patterns” and effective marketing can be challenging, and being on the wrong side of the line can bring unwanted external attention as well as liability for deceptive, abusive, and unfair trade practices.

In this one-hour webinar, Sharon Kohn, Senior Legal Editor in the Practical Law Commercial Transactions service, will moderate a discussion with Leonard L. Gordon and Liz Clark Rhinehart of Venable LLP about how in-house counsel can help their businesses navigate this changing area of regulation, including:

  • What dark patterns are and how they can be deceptive
  • FTC guidance and actions, starting with the April 2021 workshop
  • CFPB enforcement
  • State-level activity by attorneys general
  • Practical advice to give your business partners creating digital experiences
  • And more….

Sharon Kohn
Senior Legal Editor
Practical Law Commercial Transactions
Sharon Kohn joined Practical Law from Kraft Foods, where she was Chief Counsel, Marketing Services and Planters, focusing on marketing, advertising, and privacy law and commercial contracts. Previously, she was Marketing and Advertising Counsel at McDonald's Corporation and Assistant General Counsel at Rand McNally & Company. Prior to that, she was an intellectual property associate at Kirkland & Ellis.
Leonard L. Gordon
Venable LLP
Len Gordon, chair of Venable’s Advertising and Marketing Group, is a skilled litigator who leverages his significant experience working for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help protect his clients’ interests and guide their business activity. Len regularly represents companies and individuals in investigations and litigation with the FTC, state attorneys general, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Len also represents clients in business-to-business and class action litigation involving both consumer protection and antitrust issues. He also counsels clients on antitrust, advertising, and marketing compliance issues.
Liz Clark Rinehart
Venable LLP
Liz Clark Rinehart represents clients in complex class action and commercial litigation matters arising from breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of consumer protection statutes, professional licensing, arbitration, employment contracts, and other business torts. Liz also advises clients in litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Lanham Act, and other Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and state attorney general enforcement matters. Her litigation experience includes pre-litigation strategy, negotiation, trial, and appellate practice.

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