UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
________________________________________ ) Docket No. 9268 In the Matter of ) ) AGREEMENT CONTAINING NEW BALANCE ATHLETIC SHOE, INC., ) CONSENT ORDER TO CEASE a corporation. ) AND DESIST ________________________________________)
The agreement herein, by and between New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., hereinafter sometimes referred to as respondent, and its attorneys, and counsel for the Federal Trade Commission, is entered into in accordance with the Commission's Rules governing consent order procedures. In accordance herewith, the parties hereby agree that:
1. Respondent New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., is a Massachusetts corporation with its principal office and place of business at 61 North Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Respondent is a U.S. manufacturer, importer, and seller of footwear, with manufacturing facilities in Lawrence and Boston, Massachusetts, and Norridgewock and Skowhegan, Maine.
2. Respondent has been served with a copy of the complaint issued by the Federal Trade Commission charging respondent with violations of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and has filed an answer to said complaint denying said charges.
3. Respondent admits all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the Commission's complaint in this proceeding.
4. Respondent waives:
(a) Any further procedural steps;
(b) The requirement that the Commission's decision contain a statement of findings of fact and conclusions of law;
(c) All rights to seek judicial review or otherwise to challenge or contest the validity of the order entered pursuant to this agreement; and
(d) All claims under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
5. This agreement shall not become a part of the public record of the proceeding unless and until it is accepted by the Commission. If this agreement is accepted by the Commission it will be placed on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days and information in respect thereto publicly released. The Commission thereafter may either withdraw its acceptance of this agreement and so notify the respondent, in which event it will take such action as it may consider appropriate, or issue and serve its decision in disposition of the proceeding.
6. This agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by respondent that the law has been violated as alleged in the complaint or that the facts as alleged in the complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true.
7. This agreement contemplates that, if it is accepted by the Commission, and if such acceptance is not subsequently withdrawn by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of 3.25(f) of the Commission's Rules, the Commission may without further notice to respondent, (1) issue its decision containing the following order to cease and desist in disposition of the proceeding, and (2) make information public in respect thereto. When so entered, the order to cease and desist shall have the same force and effect and may be altered, modified or set aside in the same manner and within the same time provided by statute for other orders. The order shall become final upon service. Delivery by the U.S. Postal Service of the decision containing the agreed-to order to respondent's address as stated in this agreement shall constitute service. Respondent waives any right it might have to any other manner of service. The complaint and amended complaint may be used in construing the terms of the order, and no agreement, understanding, representation, or interpretation not contained in the order or in the agreement may be used to vary or contradict the terms of the order.
8. Respondent has read the complaint and the order contemplated hereby. It understands that once the order has been issued, it will be required to file one or more compliance reports showing it has fully complied with the order. Respondent further understands that it may be liable for civil penalties in the amount provided by law for each violation of the order after it becomes final.
IT IS ORDERED that respondent, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., a corporation, its successors and assigns, and its officers, agents, representatives, and employees, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, in connection with the manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any footwear in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in the Federal Trade Commission Act, do forthwith cease and desist from misrepresenting, in any manner, directly or by implication:
1. That footwear made wholly abroad is made in the United States.
2. The quantity of footwear it exports.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by this Order, respondent, or its successors and assigns, shall maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying:
A. All materials that were relied upon in disseminating such representations; and
B. All tests, reports, studies, surveys, demonstrations, or other evidence in its possession or control that contradict, qualify, or call into question such representation, or the basis relied upon for such representation, including complaints from consumers.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent shall distribute a copy of this Order to each of its operating divisions and to each of its officers, agents, representatives, or employees engaged in the preparation or placement of advertisements, promotional materials, product labels or other sales materials covered by this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent shall notify the Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any proposed change in the corporation such as dissolution, assignment, or sale resulting in the emergence of a successor corporation, the creation or dissolution of subsidiaries, or any other change in the corporation which may affect compliance obligations under this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent shall, within sixty (60) days after service of this Order upon it, and at such other times as the Commission may require, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which it has complied with this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order will terminate twenty (20) years from the date it becomes final, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the Order, whichever comes later;
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of:
A. Any paragraph in this Order that terminates in less than twenty (20) years;
B. This Order's application to any respondent that is not named as a defendant in such complaint; and
C. This Order if such complaint is filed after the Order has terminated pursuant to this paragraph.
PROVIDED FURTHER, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent did not violate any provision of the Order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the Order will terminate according to this paragraph as though the complaint was never filed, except that the Order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later of the deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.
Signed this day of , 1996.
NEW BALANCE ATHLETIC SHOE, INC.
Chief Executive Office
DONALD B. GOULD
BARBARA HEALY SMITH
LISA M. TITTEMORE
Goodwin, Procter & Hoar
Boston, MA 02109
Counsel for Respondent New Balance
Athletic Shoe, Inc.
NICHOLAS J. FRANCZYK
THERESA M. MCGREW
JOHN C. HALLERUD
EVAN G. SIEGEL
Counsel for the Federal Trade Commission
C. STEVEN BAKER
Chicago Regional Office
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Analysis of Proposed Consent Order
to Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted an agreement, subject to final approval, to a proposed consent order from respondent New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for sixty (60) days for reception of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After sixty (60) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement and take other appropriate action or make final the agreement's proposed order.
This matter concerns advertising and promotional practices related to the sale of athletic shoes. The Commission's amended complaint, issued on December 18, 1995, charges that respondent falsely represented that all of its athletic shoes sold in the United States are made in the United States, and that it annually exports to Japan hundreds of thousands of pairs of athletic shoes that are made in the United States.
The proposed consent order contains a provision which is designed to remedy the advertising violation charges and to prevent the respondent from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future. Part I of the proposed order prohibits the respondent from misrepresenting: (1) that footwear made wholly abroad is made in the United States; and (2) the quantity of footwear it exports. Part II requires the respondent to maintain materials relied upon in disseminating any representation covered by the order. Part III of the proposed order requires the respondent to distribute copies of the order to certain company officials and employees. Part IV of the proposed order requires the respondent to notify the Commission of any change in the corporation which may affect compliance obligations under the order. Part V of the proposed order requires the respondent to file one or more compliance reports. Part VI of the proposed order is a provision whereby the order, absent certain circumstances, terminates twenty years from the date of issuance.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed consent order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms.