Why do so many companies advertise their products as “Made in the USA”? Because they know that for a lot consumers, it’s an important attribute that may affect their choice of what to buy. The FTC has filed suit alleging that Chemence, Inc., falsely claimed that certain of its glue products were “Made in the USA” – or even “Proudly Made in the USA.”
According to the complaint, Chemence represents that its cyanoacrylate glues – strong, fast-acting glues – are all or virtually all made in the United States. But the FTC alleges that a significant proportion of the costs of the chemical components of Chemence’s cyanoacrylate glues – approximately 55% – are attributable to imported chemicals that are essential to the glues’ function. Therefore, according to the complaint, Chemence’s claims were deceptive because the glues are actually made in the USA with both domestic and imported materials.
But Chemence doesn’t just make its own products. It also manufactures cyanoacrylate glues marketed under the brand names of other retailers. According to the FTC, those products, too, feature deceptive Made in USA claims. Thus, the complaint alleges that Chemence provided others with the “means and instrumentalities” to deceive consumers.
Made in USA claims for glues have been the subject of discussion in documents posted on the FTC’s Made in USA page for businesses. FTC staff has sent closing letters to other companies who were making similar claims for glues manufactured with both domestic and imported materials. Those letters remind advertisers of the FTC’s “all or virtually all” standard and explain why changes the companies made to their claims led staff to recommend no further action. (That page includes letters to advertisers in many different industries who responded to FTC inquiries about potentially deceptive representations by reformulating their ad claims with the “all or virtually all” standard in mind – and thus reached an informal resolution.)
The case is pending in federal court in Ohio.
Looking for more information about Made in USA claims? Read Complying with the Made in USA Standard for guidance on how the FTC applies Section 5 of the FTC Act in this context.