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The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued guidelines specifically targeting app developers. A copy of the FTC’s guidelines can be found hereImage. The guidelines address both consumer privacy and advertising issues. Regarding  truth-in-advertising,  the FTC guidelines offer some no-brainer common sense, namely, that app developers need to: 1) tell the truth about what the app can do; and 2) be transparent about their data practices.  Importantly, the FTC guidelines note that developers must assess their products and their advertising from the “perspective of average users” rather than that of other app developers. Further, as with most other products, the FTC notes that objective claims as to what the app can do must be backed up with solid proof (“competent and reliable evidence”).  Disclosures, important terms and conditions must be noticeable and easily readable and understandable to the end user.  While the FTC has issued ‘guidelines’ for developers, many courts give significant weight to the FTC guidelines. Further, opposing parties and competitors have a significant body of unfair competition law at their disposal that they may use against an app developer.  Potential claims might include that an app developer competed unfairly by advertising desirable features that the app is unable to accomplish.

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