Petitions to reopen and modify or set aside orders: The FTC has received a petition from the following entity seeking changes in, or termination of, an FTC order. The FTC is seeking public comments on the newly-received petition for 30 days, until March 26, 1999.
Approval of Petitions to reopen and modify or set aside orders:
Applications for approval of transactions: The FTC has received an application for approval of a transaction from the following. The FTC is seeking public comments on the application for 30 days, until March 26, 1999.
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent orders binding on the respondents.
Stipulated order for permanent injunction: Following the filing of a complaint for permanent injunction in federal district court, the Commission has accepted a stipulated order for permanent injunction with the following.
Thomas Dowler, a marketer of invention promotion services, was charged with misrepresenting the likelihood of amateur inventors' success through false claims about past clients performance, his connections with major firms that would license inventors' ideas, and his ability to provide services such as research and patent searches. A stipulated order for permanent injunction would bar false representations or material omissions involving invention promotion services. The order specifically bars misrepresentations that consumers of any invention promotion services stand a good chance of realizing financial gain; any invention marketing services have led to successful marketing of many invention ideas; Dowler or any other person has an ongoing relationship with a vast network of companies that regularly leads to successful licensing agreements; invention marketing services are necessary for consumers to license their invention ideas; and Dowler or any other person prepares objective and expert analyses of the patentability and marketability of consumers' invention ideas. In addition, the order requires that Dowler disclose to prospective buyers the total number of customers with whom he has signed an agreement to provide invention-promotion services over the previous five years; the number of those customers who had their ideas for inventions licensed by an unaffiliated third party; and the number who received more from royalties or sales of their ideas than they paid to Dowler or parties affiliated with him. The order contains standard record-keeping provisions to allow the agency to monitor compliance. The Commission vote to accept the stipulated final order was 4-0. (See FTC news release dated July 23, 1997; FTC File Nos. 962 3310 and X970085; Staff contact is Steven W. Balster, FTC Cleveland Regional Office, 216-263-4301)
Copies of the documents mentioned in this FYI are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.