‘Greenwashing’ Disputes Become Hot Area of False Advertising Law
Posted Jun 10, 2009 8:26 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
There’s a hot new area of false advertising law: “greenwashing” lawsuits that claim companies are making false claims about the environmental benefits of their products.
Greenwashing lawsuits are already on the increase, and there could be “an explosion in these kinds of cases,” lawyer Eric Lane of the Green Patent Blog told the National Law Journal. “This is a hot area of false advertising,” he said.
The NLJ story outlines several recent lawsuits:
• A consumer claims in a March lawsuit that S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. is misleading consumers about the environmental safety of Windex. The suit says the company’s “Greenlist” trademark is misleading because it’s a mark owned by the company, not a third-party endorsement.
• In a February lawsuit, six environmental and public safety groups filed suit against the makers of Tide, Ajax and other household cleaners that seeks to learn whether the products contain dangerous chemicals.
• In January, a San Diego consumer filed suit contending the gas mileage he gets on his Civic Hybrid is too low for the car to be considered fuel-efficient.