Consumer Products + Retail


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Morrison & Foerster knows consumer products. From prestige to mass market, electronics to baby products, chemicals to textiles, and beyond, we know what it takes to protect our clients’ brands. We litigate high-stakes cases, we’re there at a moment’s notice to manage crises, and our innovative deal structures allow clients to get deals done efficiently.

Consumers

Brand Equity

In business, it’s all about your brand. And MoFo’s lawyers know how critical protecting brand equity is for our consumer product company clients. Our Consumer Litigation Group is known for its string of successes with deceptive and false advertising claims and assists consumer businesses in compliance with consumer protection, as well as advertising and marketing requirements. Our renowned Product Life Cycle Group defends consumer product companies against product defect, failure to warn, and toxic exposure claims and assists when products have to be recalled or removed from the market or are subjected to regulatory or media scrutiny. Our Trademark Group has extensive experience in assisting consumer product companies with brand infringement matters, including counterfeiting, product knock-offs, and diversion. Our Antitrust Group helps maximize sales and operations with legally compliant price, marketing, and distribution strategies, and handles competition-related claims from both the offensive and defensive positions.

Customer Data and Demand Shifts

While customer data are great for gauging preferences and behaviors, consumer product companies must keep consumer privacy laws and data security concerns front and center to avoid enforcement or consumer class actions. Our Privacy and Data Security Group practices in this world. We advise consumer clients about behavioral advertising, retargeting, personalized content, web analytics, and other online tracking technologies, as well as using location-based data. We help consumer product companies comply with regulatory issues and enforcement actions by the FTC and state attorneys general. We also partner with these companies to protect data in the cloud, both at rest and in transit. We help design and strengthen data security policies and practices to minimize risks for our clients. If a security incident occurs, we help them address public relations and consumer relations issues, and can provide an effective response to any threat of litigation or government investigation.

Product and Marketing Innovation

Product cycles and new marketing practices have accelerated for consumer product companies as technology continues to drive changes in consumer patterns at an exponential pace. Lawyers in our Intellectual Property Group work closely with our clients from the earliest stages of developing these product innovations, offering invaluable advice about protecting new business ideas and using new approaches to marketing. We also provide strategic business counsel on the development of products and technologies that might infringe patents held by competitors or require the negotiation of royalty payments. When conflicts arise, our IP litigators are aggressive courtroom advocates who have successfully defended our clients’ ideas and inventions.

Consumer Issues

Brand Protection

Our lawyers understand the importance of protecting brand equity. Lawyers in our Consumer Litigation Group have achieved significant victories in representing retailers in cases involving deceptive and false advertising claims and helping clients comply with consumer protection, advertising, and marketing requirements. Recognized as one of the nation’s leading practices in this area, our Product Life Cycle Group has consistently defended retail companies against product defect, failure to warn, and toxic exposure claims. We provide clients with strategic advice in situations, such as product recalls or removals, and where our clients are the subject of intense regulatory or media attention. Our Trademark Group helps clients with a range of brand infringement matters, from counterfeiting and product knock-offs to diversion.

Consumer Data

Retailers have a tremendous amount of consumer data at their disposal, which can present unique challenges and opportunities.

We work with our retailer clients to protect their data in the cloud, at rest, and in transit. We help them design and strengthen data security policies and practices to minimize the risks associated with a data security breach. If a security incident does arise, our thorough understanding of all breach reporting requirements allows us to “hit the ground running” to react and protect. We can address public and customer relations issues and respond to any threatened litigation or government investigations.

We help retailers ensure that their customer data strategies comply with the various consumer privacy laws, advertising and marketing laws, and related consumer protection rules. Our Privacy Group advises retailers about behavioral advertising, retargeting, personalized content, and web analytics and other online tracking technologies, as well as the use of location-based data. We regularly create and evaluate compliance programs for local, state, federal, and international laws regulating the collection, use, and disclosure of consumers’ personal information to help our retail clients avoid becoming the subjects of FTC enforcement or consumer class actions.

Customer Engagement

The rapid rise of social media and mobile technologies gives retailers new channels to engage customers — and that also brings risk. We help our clients balance the commercial realities of the retail business with the risks posed by laws and regulations affecting social media. We also help retailers comply with the various advertising and marketing laws and related consumer protection rules. Our Advertising and Marketing Law experience includes all forms of promotion, direct marketing, defense of FTC consumer protection investigations, and advertising substantiation analysis, as well as the prosecution and defense of advertising disputes in arbitration before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Corporate Transactions

Our Corporate Group assists retailers with a broad range of corporate needs through the corporate life cycle, from early-stage financings through IPOs and acquisitions. We regularly counsel boards of directors on the most-sensitive legal issues facing retail businesses.

Corporate and Finance

Our Corporate Finance Group assists retail businesses with corporate issues and financings, including initial public offerings and the reporting and compliance obligations that come with being a public company. We also advise clients on board governance and shareholder initiatives, such as activist proposals and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

By working closely with management teams and regularly attending board meetings, our corporate lawyers have unparalleled first-hand knowledge of the business realities facing the retail industry.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Our lawyers have established themselves as leaders in the industry by advising some of the world’s leading retailers on their most strategic matters. Our M&A Group is known for innovative deal structures that allow clients to get deals done, and our international platform in Asia, Europe, and the United States allows us to advise retailers that are seeking growth opportunities through cross-border transactions.

Operational and Regulatory Issues

Employment and Labor

Employment and labor issues are a top concern for retailers. Our Employment and Labor Group provides retailers with thoughtful counseling, along with auditing and litigation avoidance strategies in all aspects of the employment relationship. We are recognized for our work in wage-and-hour law, traditional union‑employer issues, trade secret protection, employee privacy, and everything in between. This includes assisting retail clients with emergency matters that require immediate relief and with litigation or alternative dispute resolution, including those involving worker misclassification, missed meal and rest breaks, “suitable seating,” discrimination, wrongful discharge, whistleblower, retaliation, theft of trade secret, and employee raiding claims. We have broad experience in all areas of Compensation and Benefits, providing integrated advice that helps our retail clients attract and retain key talent at all levels of an organization.

Information Technology

Retailers continue to adopt new and evolving forms of technology solutions to support their businesses, including an array of web and mobile applications that address the consumer interface. They also must be involved with IT platforms and solutions to manage the transaction flow from point of sale to inventory procurement, management, and control, including shipment and delivery to the consumer. All of these activities require legal counsel. Our lawyers have the experience to advise on these and related matters, such as mobile payments, consumer credit and PCI compliance, cloud computing, IP protection, and regulatory compliance. As an example, our Technology Transactions Group understands private, public, and hybrid clouds and their underlying technology ― IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS; data security; and business continuity. We also help our retail clients when they seek to invest millions in technology upgrades, adopt new technology platforms, or acquire or develop new technologies.

Real Estate

Retailers are embracing omnichannel retailing — using a combination of mobile, online, catalog, and in-store experiences to drive increased customer traffic and brand loyalty. In this omnichannel environment, retailers may need to re-evaluate their real estate strategies — and our Real Estate Group can assist with this process. We have the combination of real estate, development, leasing, and land use experience that retailers may require when identifying potential store locations, analyzing the legal and regulatory requirements and costs of leasing and acquiring store sites, negotiating and documenting acquisitions and leases, obtaining entitlements and permits, and ensuring compliance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We have also represented retail landlords and tenants in commercial lease disputes, breach of contract and commercial fraud cases, and real estate investment and development disputes.

Supply Chain

Our Technology Transactions Group combines industry business experience and practical legal knowledge in areas of intellectual property and commercial law to assist retailers with supply chain optimization strategies that include strategic alliances and outsourcing.

We strive to help retailers build strong long-term value chain relationships, so they can collaborate with their partners more effectively to identify risks, minimize supply chain disruptions, and adapt their production and distribution networks for efficient customer service. Our Environmental Group helps retailers when a vendor’s business practices threaten a brand image. We counsel our retail clients on vendor operations, codes of conduct, product sourcing and component input requirements, FCPA, and other compliance concerns.

Tax

Possible changes in state and federal tax policies are among retailers’ key regulatory concerns. Our Tax Group has a history of crafting creative solutions for our clients’ most-complex tax challenges. We represent some of the best‑known retailers in their most-significant tax controversies, often addressing the key tax issues affecting their industry, from corporate, excise, franchise, and sales and use tax issues to unclaimed property tax liabilities and related compliance risks. We also regularly advise clients about the tax implications of corporate transactions and reorganizations, including multistate and other cross-border transactions.

Trials

Our team of trial lawyers has first chaired more than 750 jury trials and tried hundreds of cases before arbitrators and administrative bodies. Our team includes four members of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates and six fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

We have one mission: to achieve the best results for our clients. From the moment we begin working on a case, we look for ways to resolve the dispute. The most cost-effective way to achieve our clients’ goals is to prepare each case as if it were going to trial, so we focus on the key issues, witnesses, and documents at the outset to help our clients assess the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. If a matter does not settle, this planning makes us well positioned to present the client’s case to a judge or jury.

MoFo staffs our trial teams to reflect the diversity of the jurors who will decide our clients’ cases. This stems from our long-standing commitment to recruiting, training, and advancing women and lawyers of color.

Investors and Shareholders

From early-stage financings to IPOs and acquisitions, our Corporate Group assists consumer products businesses throughout the corporate life cycle. We regularly counsel boards of directors about the most sensitive legal issues facing these businesses.

Corporate and Finance

Our Corporate Finance Group assists consumer product companies with corporate issues and financings, including IPOs and the necessary reporting and compliance obligations. We also advise clients about board governance and shareholder initiatives, including responding to activist proposals and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

By working closely with management teams and regularly attending board meetings, our corporate lawyers have developed unparalleled firsthand knowledge of the business realities facing the consumer product industry. We provide the foundational insights and experience that help companies in this industry stay current and strong.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Our M&A Group is known for innovative deal structures that allow clients to get deals done. MoFo’s lawyers advise many of the world’s leading consumer brands about their most strategic matters. Through our international platform in Asia, Europe, and the United States, we advise consumer product companies that seek growth opportunities through cross-border transactions.

Supply Chain Partners

Our Technology Transactions Group combines industry experience and practical legal knowledge of IP and commercial law to assist consumer product companies with supply chain optimization strategies (including alliances) and outsourcing. We advise clients about supply chain management issues that could adversely affect a strong consumer brand, as well as vendor operations, codes of conduct, product sourcing and component input requirements, FCPA, and other compliance matters.

MoFo’s Environment & Energy Group helps consumer product companies address a broad range of legal issues affecting the product life cycle, from supply chain sourcing to marketing and end-of-life management. As an example, we assist companies in both adopting sustainable supply chain practices and launching associated marketing and promotional activities that inform consumers about these practices. We advise on new international, federal, and state legal developments that have significant impacts on consumer product design and the related areas of raw material and component sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, marketing, and disposal.

Legal 500 US 2017
National: Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action: Consumer Products


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