Companies in the fashion industry face complex legal and business challenges that can rattle even the best-run organizations. Safeguarding intellectual property and brand integrity, minimizing import and export costs, and bringing products to market without triggering false advertising or product liability claims are just a few. Now, with so much business and marketing done online, on mobile devices, and through social media, new privacy and cybersecurity concerns raise serious risks of legal liability and lasting reputational harm.
That is why every participant in the fashion industry—from designers and manufacturers to retail sellers and digital marketers—requires the experienced counsel of attorneys who can assist today's companies in recognizing and avoiding legal and financial pitfalls. This is where Crowell & Moring can help.
Advertising, Marketing, and Consumer Protection: Compliance and Litigation
We assist clients with the regulatory and litigation aspects of:
- The Internet of Things (IoT) and "hackability" claims.
- Substantiation of advertising claims in competitor allegations.
- Consumer class actions: false, misleading, and/or deceptive advertising claims.
- Advertising campaigns, promotions, loyalty programs, sponsorships, and talent endorsements.
- Digital media and sweepstakes: compliance with social media platform rules and use of customer data for marketing.
Intellectual property is one of the fashion industry's most valuable assets. We work to:
- Protect, defend, acquire, and license IP rights (including patents for wearable technology and innovative fabrics).
- Defend infringement claims and combat infringing, gray market, or counterfeit goods; false claims; and deceptive actions initiated by competitors.
- Litigate cases involving design and configuration marks, trade dress rights, color marks, company service marks, trade secrets, and false advertising.
- Prosecute trademark and copyright applications and defend against administrative oppositions and cancellations in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in connection with applications and registrations.
- Counsel on investments in media and content creation and licensing.
Our business transaction attorneys advise fashion clients on:
- Corporate formation and initial investments and subsequent growth capital.
- Industry positioning by structuring and negotiating domestic and international cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, IPOs, divestitures, franchises, and reorganizations.
- Finance matters, secured and unsecured asset-based and cash-flow lending and factoring, structured finance, and other leveraged strategies.
- Securities, including public offerings, Securities Exchange Act reporting and compliance, and shareholder activism.
- A broad array of commercial contracts, including celebrity endorsement deals, licensing agreements, manufacturing and supply agreements, and employment, consulting, and designer agreements.
Privacy and Cybersecurity
We help clients recognize and avoid privacy and cybersecurity legal and regulatory pitfalls through:
- Comprehensive risk assessment and compliance reviews of data and privacy practices.
- Development of best practices, policies, and vendor management agreements to safeguard company and customer data.
- Post-breach crisis management, including defending against government investigations and government and private lawsuits, responding to complaints regarding privacy and data security, and conducting a "lessons learned" analysis of each incident.
- Strategies and solutions for international privacy and data protection compliance, including laws governing cross-border data transfers.
For many fashion clients, a multinational network collaborates on design, manufacture, import/export, and delivery of finished goods. Fashion clients retain us to:
- Facilitate communications with national governments and international trade agencies around the world.
- Provide advice on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other free trade agreements (FTAs), and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
- Advise on licensing requirements, perform internal investigations, and design and implement trade compliance programs.
- Counsel companies on classification, valuation, and origin to ensure the most advantageous customs duties and tariff treatment.
- Get products through customs and border protection and recover payment of excess import duties.
We advise on a broad array of other regulatory concerns. Crowell & Moring works with fashion clients to:
- Ensure that products are labeled in compliance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations to meet all requirements for the U.S. market.
- Harmonize requirements to minimize the expense and burden of global compliance.
- Comply with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) flammability requirements for textiles, general wearing apparel, and children's sleepwear.
- Meet requirements of state green chemistry laws.
- Manage products and their components to meet detailed restrictive substances lists and reporting obligations.