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FTC Closes Chapter on "Your Baby Can Read"

Date: Aug 25, 2014

After two years of fighting, Dr. Robert Titzer, Ph.D., creator of the Your Baby Can Read! product, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegations that he misrepresented the product’s effectiveness in teaching children to read. 

The FTC filed suit against the marketers of Your Baby Can Read in 2012.  The suit alleged that the marketers - Your Baby Can, LLC, its CEO, Hugh Penton, Jr., and Dr. Titzer - made false and misleading claims about the effectiveness of the product to teach infants and young children literacy skills.  Specifically, the FTC challenged claims that the product would teach children as young as nine months to read, that the product would allow children to advance more quickly in school, and that children ages 3 to 4 would be reading books such as Harry Potter and Charlotte’s Web.  The FTC further claimed that the scientific studies cited by the marketers misrepresented data and were not sufficient to support the reading claims. Dr. Titzer was also charged with making deceptive product endorsements.  Your Baby Can, LLC, and Hugh Penton, Jr. settled with the FTC in 2012, but Dr. Titzer chose to fight the allegations. 

According to the terms of the settlement, Dr. Titzer and his company, Infant Learning, Inc. d/b/a, are prohibited from using the phrase “Your Baby Can Read,” making false and misleading claims about scientific studies, and providing deceptive endorsements for products.

The settlement is a reminder to marketers of the need to ensure that product performance claims are truthful and not misleading, whether the claims are part of the product name or in advertisements, that claims are supported by appropriate scientific evidence, and that product endorsers are experts in a relevant field of study.

 

For more information about advertising and other consumer protection–related issues, contact Sheila A. Millar at millar@khlaw.com or 202 434-4143; or Tracy P. Marshall at marshall@khlaw.com or 202 434-4234.