United States Mint Seeks To Protect Consumers and Hobby From Misuse of Official Name and Emblems

January 12, 2005
Public Comment Sought on New Rule

Washington — The Secretary of the Treasury has authorized the implementation of a regulation that would help protect consumers and the coin–collecting hobby when the Department of the Treasury’s and the United States Mint’s names and emblems are used in confusing, misleading and deceptive advertising. The United States Mint is soliciting public comment on the proposed rule, which has been published in the Federal Register. The regulation would allow the United States Mint to fine those who misuse its name or emblems or those of the Department of the Treasury. The authority for implementing this regulation is Title 31 of the United States Code, Section 333.

Specifically, the new rule would authorize the Agency to assess civil penalties against any party who uses the United States Mint’s or Treasury Department’s names or symbols to convey the false impression that the party’s advertisements, solicitations, business activities or products are approved, endorsed, sponsored or associated with the United States Mint or the Department of the Treasury. The United States Mint would have the power to fine an individual or company each time a different media outlet carried the confusing, misleading or deceptive material. Uses of such materials in broadcasts and telecasts would incur especially stiff penalties, because of the magnitude of the audience.

The regulation would not affect the vast majority of individuals and businesses selling coins or coin products. The rule is intended to create a higher level of consumer awareness, by defending the integrity of the United States Mint’s name and symbols. Businesses should consult the guidelines on the United States Mint’s Consumer Awareness web page at /news/consumer-alerts.

The protections of due process in the proposed regulation include fair notice, an opportunity to respond and present evidence, the opportunity to have a hearing and the right of appeal in appropriate Federal District Courts.

Those interested in providing comments to the United States Mint regarding this proposed rulemaking must submit them in writing to the Office of Chief Counsel, United States Mint, 801 9th Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20220, by February 18, 2005. The proposed rule also appears on the United States Mint website at http://www.usmint.gov/consumer/ under Consumer Awareness, Hot Topics.

The United States Mint will make public all comments it receives regarding this proposal, and may not consider confidential any information contained in comments.


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