Background - Practices (Details)



Crowell & Moring's chemicals team provides broad-based, industry-focused legal counsel to leading multinational chemical companies and trade associations with operations and interests in the United States, Europe, and around the world. We provide advice at every stage of a chemical's lifespan—from intellectual property and risk management issues that arise during a product's development to regulatory approvals required to bring a product to market, as well as advising on ongoing compliance issues and defending against toxic tort or regulatory lawsuits brought by consumers or governmental entities.

For example, one of our partners served as deputy general counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some of our lawyers have held positions with the EPA specifically dealing with toxic substances, and others have served as trial lawyers with the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. Our environmental practice and our individual lawyers have been recognized for excellence by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and Who's Who Legal, and several hold (and have held) faculty positions at highly regarded law schools. 

Our regulatory lawyers represent chemical industry clients before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection service (APHIS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal and state regulatory agencies.

Our litigation and trial lawyers practice before district courts across the country, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and other courts and government agencies. Crowell lawyers have more than thirty years of experience with toxic tort, class action, and intellectual property litigations involving chemicals.

Intellectual Property

With backgrounds in chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical engineering as well as other related disciplines, Crowell lawyers are well-equipped to tackle the various IP issues that arise in the chemical space. We routinely handle litigations involving patents (including Hatch-Waxman Paragraph IV litigations, and Section 337 investigations), trade secrets, and trademarks (see Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences). For companies not in litigation, we also provide infringement, validity, and freedom to operate opinions, and conduct intellectual property due diligence and related counseling in the context of company acquisitions and financings.

Crowell lawyers also provide patent procurement services to chemical companies, as well as representation in interferences and post-grant review proceedings. We have experience in worldwide portfolio management, and assist our clients in domestic and foreign filing and prosecution of patent applications— including filing under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and in non-PCT nations.

Product Liability and Toxic Torts

Whenever a litigation issue involving a chemical arises, Crowell & Moring brings a multidisciplinary approach to the matter, integrating the firm's resources in regulatory counseling, product liability and toxic tort litigation, environmental law, science, and public policy. We have defended client in matters involving alleged exposures to trichloroethylene and other chlorinated solvents, vinyl chloride, PCBs, dioxins, formaldehyde, benzene, MTBE, creosote, beryllium, welding fumes, diesel exhaust, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, and fire retardant chemicals. Many of these cases have alleged increased risk of cancer, endocrine disruption, immune dysfunction, obesity-related diseases, "chronic systemic chemical poisoning," neighborhood exposures, or requests for medical monitoring.

We also use our litigation experience to develop litigation avoidance strategies for clients. These include conducting comprehensive risk assessments that evaluate the client's use, handling, labeling, and marketing of certain chemicals to provide guidance on potential regulatory and litigation liabilities. In turn, we help clients develop and implement corporate compliance programs to address potential product liabilities before they develop.

Regulatory Advising

Our lawyers also help clients obtain regulatory approvals and address ongoing compliance and product stewardship issues under laws such as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, and the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act (CDTA). In addition, we represent clients in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) cases and related brownfields and site remediation matters.

Our experience is not confined to U.S. federal regulations. We regularly advise clients on state regulatory issues, including California's Proposition 65 and its Green Chemistry regulations. And our Brussels-based lawyers have significant experience advising clients on a wide range of EU regulations and legislation, including the EU REACH Regulation, the EU Classification, Labeling and Packaging Regulation, and EU Biocides and Pesticides legislation.