Analysis of Proposed Consent Order
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted an agreement, subject to final approval, to a proposed consent order from respondent Johnson Worldwide Associates, 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 agreements proposed order.
This matter concerns advertising, packaging, labeling, and promotional practices related to the sale of fishing line. The Commissions complaint charges that respondent misrepresented on packaging that its Super Mono fishing line is made in the United States of American and Japanese components. In addition, the complaint charges that respondent misrepresented in advertising that its Super Mono fishing line is all or virtually all made in the United States. In truth and in fact, the Super Mono fishing line is totally made in Japan with Japanese labor and components. Only the spool on which the fishing line is wrapped and the package, labeling, and package inserts contain American labor or components.
The proposed consent order contains a provision that is designed to remedy the 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 the extent to which any fishing product is made in the United States. The order defines fishing products as any product that is intended to be used for fishing, including but not limited to fishing rods, fishing reels, fishing line, fishing lures, and fishing spoons. The proposed order would allow respondent to represent that such fishing products are made in the United States as long as all, or virtually all, of the components of the products are of U.S. origin and all, or virtually all, of the labor in manufacturing them is performed in the United States.
The proposed order also provides that respondent shall not make a general U.S. origin claim, whether or not accompanied by qualifying information (e.g., "Made in U.S.A. of U.S. and imported parts" or "Manufactured in U.S. with imported materials") unless the fishing product was last substantially transformed in the United States, as the term "substantially transformed" is defined by regulations or administrative rulings issued by the U.S. Customs Service under section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1304.
Part II of the proposed order 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 that 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.