Legally Claiming Made in the USA

By August 5, 2013Blog, Business Law

Legally Claiming Made in the USATo claim a product is “made in the USA”, not only must the product itself be assembled in the United States, but virtually all of its components themselves must also be made in the United States. To prevent deception and unfairness in the marketplace, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for enforcing this. FTC requires a product bearing the “made in the USA” to actually be “all or virtually all” made in the USA. If the product is fully produced in the USA it can be expressed with the label “made in the USA” or use an American flag on the label, advertising or in statements such as “true American quality”. The policy applies to products advertised or sold in the USA except those subject to country of origin labeling by other laws such as “made in china” or “made in Japan”.

Claiming Made in the USA

The FTC cannot pre-approve the usage of “made in USA”. It is the responsibility of the company making the “made in USA” claims. The product should contain no (or a negligible amount of) foreign content. Reliable and competent evidence must be substantiated that the product is “all or virtually all” made in the USA.

Final Processing – The US processing must be the last transformation in the manufacturing process, i.e. final processing and assembly of the product must have taken place in the United States. If a product is assembled in a different country, and sent to the USA for storage, the FTC would consider this to be a deceptive use of the claim “made in the USA.”

Assembled in the USA – A product where half of the components are made in China cannot bear the “made in the USA” title. However, when the principle assembly takes place in the US and the assembly is the last substantial transformation in the manufacturing process, the company can use the phrase “assembled in the USA”. The company must ensure that the product has a significant amount of US content or US processing and still exercise to be truthful in making such claims.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.

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