Clean Technology

MoFo knows clean technology. We provide thoughtful guidance in an ever-evolving sector based on our years of clean technology experience.

Clean technology and climate change law are rapidly evolving. We have more than 150 clean technology lawyers around the world – from California to Washington, D.C., London to Berlin, and all across Asia – who stay ahead of the curve on regulatory developments and investment trends to maximize your business potential.

We combine the strength of our corporate, regulatory, and litigation practices with deep expertise in intellectual property, energy, finance, and environmental law to solve your challenges.

Intellectual property: Securing your foundation

MoFo is an intellectual property powerhouse. We offer an unbeatable combination when it comes to IP: a Patent and Plant Variety Protection practice and a dedicated Technology Transactions group, each highly regarded in their own right and that work seamlessly together.

We can help clients carry out an IP strategy that aligns with their business strategy. For example, we:

  • Developed and managed patent portfolios for Water Harvesting, Inc. and Origin Materials
  • Performed IP due diligence for Emerson Collective and Khosla Ventures

We have helped commercialize IP, products, and services in almost every clean technology sector. We think creatively and look to the future—for example, helping clients maximize the “carbon” value in licensing transactions, addressing the impact of government funding on IP rights, and securing core technology to access capital markets and meet emerging renewable energy standards.

Environmental and energy law: Navigating a changing landscape

Our environmental and energy law practitioners, many of whom are former U.S. state or federal regulators themselves, cover the field. We advise on new legislation, such as increases in renewable portfolio standards and carbon pricing bills. We have extensive experience representing clients in utility commission proceedings; the restructuring of retail power and gas facilities; and the permitting, financing, and construction of generation, transmission, and distribution. Our land use and environmental lawyers have streamlined the approval process for clean technology leaders, such as EDF Renewables, First Solar, and E.ON Climate and Renewables. We provide cutting-edge advice that positions our clients to address the latest climate-related regulations.

Corporate and finance: Growing the bottom line

Green pays, with the right approach. Our transactional lawyers advise companies on corporate governance, acquisition, development, and finance, helping them:

  • Acquire assets that provide synergy with their existing lines of business
  • Obtain equity, debt, and development financing
  • Develop and operate energy production facilities, related core technologies, and energy-efficient businesses

Our project finance and development lawyers work on energy projects worldwide, including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill, and nuclear projects. Our clients have included Generate Capital, Meridian Energy, First Solar, Silicon Valley Bank, Solel Solar Systems, Rabobank, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more about our Renewable Energy practice.

Litigation: A Deep Bench for High-Stakes Disputes

When clean technology issues end up in court, clients turn to Morrison & Foerster's second-to-none litigation team, with a deep bench covering all areas, including intellectual property, false advertising claims relating to green or environmental marketing, and securities litigation. Our IP litigators are known for their technical grasp of these technologies and superior courtroom skills. Our Green Marketing + Advertising practice provides clients with counseling, enforcement actions, and litigation assistance. In addition, our Securities Litigation practice is at the cutting edge of issues such as sustainability disclosure and carbon accounting.

MoFo provides a competitive edge in this diverse industry sector

MoFo has emerged as the leading clean technology law firm in the world, helping drive the transition to sustainable energy and providing clean technology clients with a competitive edge. Our global network of lawyers offer specific experience in many clean technology sectors, including renewable energy; regulation of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions; and marketing, advertising, and other "green" activities. For example:

Biofuels + biochemicals

Morrison & Foerster's Clean Technology Group has extensive experience counseling the biofuel, biomass, and biochemical sectors. Our clients have worked for years to develop low-input, high-yield feedstocks and new conversion technologies to produce biofuels and other biochemicals.

Our corporate and energy industry specialists are supported by the nation's largest group of intellectual property lawyers focused on the life sciences. Our Plant Intellectual Property group covers patents, licensing, trademarks, and litigation related to plant products. Together we can help clients structure strategic alliances, joint ventures, financing, and licensing arrangements to advance biofuels technology development, including the operation of power, energy, and infrastructure projects, obtain and defend regulatory approvals, and monetize and defend intellectual property assets and marketing rights related to biofuels.

Energy efficiency + intelligence

Morrison & Foerster advises clients who are commercializing and marketing energy-efficiency products and services. We help structure and negotiate strategic agreements for the development, licensing, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of this technology.

We counsel clients on the impact of regulation of all types on development and operational plans, including the regulatory framework surrounding green building standards, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the Green Building Initiative, the International Green Construction Code, and others. Our lawyers help obtain and defend intellectual property rights associated with energy efficiency and intelligence technologies.

Energy storage and fuel cells

The energy storage sector is enjoying unprecedented growth as technology advances and prices plummet and society electrifies more functions previously provided by fossil energy. New use cases are emerging as storage can now provide grid-scale services, as well as reliable backup power, more efficient hybrid and all-electric automobiles, and more compact power supplies for electronics and personal transportation. Morrison & Foerster represents emerging entrepreneurs and established companies in bringing new technologies and products to this market.

We have a strong track record of helping our clients anticipate U.S. state and local regulations that will impact their energy storage and fuel cell businesses. We help them reach agreements related to research and development, developing technology in-house, sponsoring research at universities, and jointly developing with or acquiring technology from third parties. We negotiate access to input materials and agreements with distributors, sales representatives, and customers. We advise companies on their overall patent and IP portfolio to enhance their competitive advantage. We are experienced advisors on environmental and legal concerns stemming from the manufacture and disposal of batteries.

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Experience

  • We represented Carbonetworks in the closing of a $5 million Series A Financing Round. Carbonetworks is a carbon emissions software tracking provider / trading platform for credits. The funding was provided by NGEN II, L.P., part of the NGEN Partners group of leading cleantech venture funds. We also advise Carbonetworks on financial and technology transaction issues, as well as carbon regulation and trading.

  • We represented Emerson Collective in several deals, including the $26 million Series C financing of Nautilus Data Technologies, a U.S.-based data center cooler developer.

    We also represented Emerson in connection to governance and ownership of Baswood. Baswood offers innovative and sustainable technology-based solutions to wastewater and biosolids treatment for a wide range of industrial and municipal markets.

    We represented Emerson on its $5 million investment in Natel Energy, a California-based developer of a cost-effective, low-impact hydropower product to provide clean energy to communities without the negative environmental impact.

    We also represented Emerson in the $10 million Series B financing of Cambrian Innovation. Cambrian Innovation Inc. provides biotechnology products for food and beverage producers. It offers EcoVolt Reactor, a wastewater treatment technology that leverages electrically active microbes to extract resources, such as clean water and clean energy from wastewater, and EcoVolt Mini, an all-in-one water reuse container. Emerson Collective is headquarter in the Bay Area and founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

  • Advising client on joint development agreement with ExxonMobil to advance breakthrough technology that can capture and concentrate carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources, including power plants, and the atmosphere. The two companies are also exploring opportunities to identify economic uses for the captured carbon dioxide. Global Thermostat is commercializing its advanced, multi-patented technology to transform carbon dioxide from a global liability into an opportunity for global prosperity. Using proven, breakthrough technology, Global Thermostat economically captures and concentrates CO2, enabling its profitable re-use across multiple large and growing industries – reducing harmful emissions and helping to close the global carbon cycle.

  • We counsel Generate Capital on general corporate work. Generate Capital is a finance company based in San Francisco, California that partners with project developers and technology manufacturers globally to finance sectors in renewable energy, technology, finance, and sustainability sectors.

  • We represent Origin Materials on IP and Technology Transaction matters. The company is based in California and Ontario, with technology to turn cellulose into various key building block chemicals that may be used to produce various consumer products. With their partners, PepsiCo, Danone, and Nestlé, Origin Materials is commercializing water bottles from sustainable, renewable materials.

  • We advised the Stewardship Council on development/implementation of a Land Conservation Plan for approximately 140,000 acres of PG&E lands. This plan is to promote beneficial public values and include open space preservation, protection of historic values, sustainable forestry, habitat protection, agricultural uses, and outdoor recreation. We also serve as outside corporate counsel for this nonprofit corporation and provide advice on a wide array of legal issues related to the structure of the foundation, corporate governance, conflicts of interest and fiduciary duties, grant making, employment, land use, and environmental. Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council was established to oversee and carry out the Land Conservation Commitment established by the Settlement Agreement and Stipulation by and between PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission and to provide funds for the purpose of providing a wilderness experience for urban youth.

  • We represent Water Harvesting Inc. on corporate and IP matters. This startup company emerged from the University of California, Berkeley, based on Professor Omar Yaghi’s pioneering work involving metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for water capture. The company was formed to commercialize atmospheric water harvesting systems based on MOFs, and such systems can be used in the most arid regions of the world.

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