Background - Drones

Unmanned Aircraft Systems


Drones have taken to the airways and are transforming how industry thinks about package delivery, mine inspections, surveillance, and a broad array of commercial applications. The drone revolution has come with regulatory angst and uncertainty, with federal, state, and local authorities asserting themselves, and with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) players needing a seat at the table as law catches up with drone technology.

Crowell & Moring’s multi-disciplinary Drones Practice matches broad regulatory and transactional know-how to clients’ unmanned aircraft needs. Our lawyers combine business aviation, product liability, data protection, international trade, insurance, and regulatory knowledge with innovative strategic business counseling to help clients achieve operational goals. Across sectors and the supply chain—consumer goods, mining and energy, insurance, technology, manufacturing, and distribution companies—our team helps clients advance their drone legal and business strategies.

Representative Matters include:

  • Helping drone clients obtain FAA permits for operation and meet FAA regulatory operational requirements.
  • Advising a manufacturer on certification standards applicable to the manufacture and production of UAS, as well as export control requirements relating to international operations and controlled data.
  • Counseling on major advertising concerns in connection with FAA regulations and policies applicable to the use of UAS in nationally televised product launch campaigns.
  • Providing client risk mitigation counseling on product safety and privacy and security issues regarding their launch of unmanned aerial systems for use with GoPro cameras.
  • Assisting a major property casualty insurer in obtaining a Section 333 exemption permitting use of drones for roof inspections.
  • Advising a large, U.S.-based drones association on commercial contracting issues and a data-security incident.
  • Advising on U.S. export controls related to U.S.-origin drones to be used to provide security for a client’s mine in Africa and offered separately for sale to the relevant government.
  • Assisting in obtaining export control classifications for drone navigation software from the Department of Commerce.
  • Conducting M&A diligence on a target company in Canada that produces drones.