FTC Takes Enforcement Action Against Maker of “Invisible Mask” Over False COVID-19 Protection Claims
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took enforcement action against four defendants that marketed a product called “Virus Buster Invisible Mask.” The FTC determined that the defendants made false and misleading representations about the degree of COVID-19 protection provided by the mask. Within this article, our Miami deceptive trade practices attorney provides a more detailed explanation of the enforcement action.
Enforcement Action: False Advertising
The FTC has taken legal action against four related entities for misleadingly advertising their “1 Virus Buster Invisible Mask”—which was marketed under the brand “Invisible Mask.” The product was marketed and sold as creating a barrier against 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19. However, the FTC determines that there was a lack of scientific evidence to back these assertions. Despite a warning issued by the FTC in July 2020, the New York-based defendants continued to falsely promote the product as a scientifically valid defense against COVID-19.
The complaint specifically names Gary Kong, Timothy Wetzel, and their companies, K W Technology Inc. and K W Technology NV Inc., for violating the FTC Act and the Covid Consumer Protection Act. The Invisible Mask, marketed through the companies’ website, YouTube, and Facebook was sold with other unsubstantiated claims. These claims included the product’s use of “quantum theory technology” to kill viruses and bacteria within a three-foot radius, without any reliable scientific proof. Beyond that, the product contained misleading claims of FDA and EPA endorsements.
What is the Standard for False Advertising?
False advertising is defined as the use of misleading, deceptive, or untruthful statements in advertising. The standard for identifying false advertising involves examining whether the advertising is likely to deceive a reasonable consumer. This includes considering the overall impression created by the advertisement, not just individual phrases or statements. In the Invisible Mask case, the FTC contends that the entities involved in marketing and selling the product used:
- Baseless scientific claims of reliability;
- Claims about technology that had no basis; and
- False claims of government approval.
Florida’s FDUTPA Allows Business and Consumers to Sue Directly for False Advertising
Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) empowers both businesses and consumers to initiate legal action directly against entities for false advertising. Florida law defaults to the interpretation of false advertising adopted by the FTC. The state’s FDUTPA allows a plaintiff—whether an individual consumer, a business, or an organization—to sue for damages and to seek injunctions against misleading advertisements.
Get Help From a Deceptive Trade Practices Lawyer in Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami, FL FDUTPA attorney is standing by, ready to protect your rights and your interests every step of the way. If you have any questions about a deceptive advertising case, please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential consultation. Our lawyers are devoted to helping clients obtain the best possible outcome. With offices in Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County, we represent clients throughout South Florida.