When dealing with the myriad complexities of regulatory matters in the EU, businesses need fast answers, a clear path forward, and guidance based on direct experience. We have a unique perspective and first-hand knowledge of how legislative bodies and regulatory agencies work.
The EU Regulatory Practice is by nature a multidisciplinary practice. Almost all of our lawyers deal within their area of experience with regulatory questions. Our regulatory practice has represented clients from a vast array of industries in proceedings for judicial and administrative review of agency actions. We routinely assist clients facing government investigations, and counsel clients in connection with agency inspection and enforcement actions. In collaboration with our consulting affiliate, C&M International, we are also able to work at the "front end" of the regulatory decision-making progress to shape favorable outcomes. And, our cross-disciplinary approach means we anticipate opportunities before they are lost and challenges before they arise.
Our EU Regulatory Practice is able to address the many regulatory issues facing European-based manufacturers and distributors, as well as companies exporting or importing products and services into the EU. We offer a comprehensive and user-friendly service to help companies understand the EU legislation that they have to comply with, as well as any business opportunities that may exist. Our Brussels location offers us the advantage of proximity to key decision-makers in the European Institutions.
EU regulatory issues often impact a wide variety of work that we undertake for our clients in areas such as international trade, torts, contract, health and safety, intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and competition law. The EU Regulatory team liaises closely with other specialists within the firm to provide an integrated approach to our clients.
The EU Regulatory practice assists local, national, and multinational companies in five main ways. We:
- provide tailored EU regulatory monitoring in order to keep clients up-to-date on the latest legal developments affecting their business;
- offer advice on the application of, and compliance with, EU regulatory laws and standards, including those of the 28 individual EU Member States;
- assist with identifying and managing risks and navigating legal and regulatory issues, both domestically and internationally, as clients develop strategies to grow their businesses and products’ life cycles;
- provide advice on legal initiatives for those companies considering, or involved in, lobbying national and EU institutions on legislative and policy proposals (including assistance in responding to public consultations); and
- where necessary, counsel on litigation before national and EU Courts.
Our EU Regulatory lawyers work closely with our colleagues in our Washington D.C. office, in particular with our Environment & Natural Resources and Advertising & Product Risk Management groups. This enable us to advise multinational clients on the differences between current EU and U.S. regulatory legislation and how companies doing business in both the EU and the U.S. markets can ensure compliance with both sets of legislation.
Our EU Regulatory lawyers are acknowledged for their experience in Legal 500 EMEA, Chambers Europe and other leading legal guides.
ADVERTISING & PRODUCT RISK MANAGEMENT
Our Advertising & Product Risk Management Group has considerable experience working with consumer and industrial product manufacturers, component suppliers, sellers and distributors, in identifying and managing risks and navigating legal and regulatory regimes internationally as clients develop strategies to grow their businesses and manage product life cycles. We have particular experience working with clients who seek to extend their valuable brand names into new product areas where they encounter unfamiliar legal and regulatory terrain.
We have extensive familiarity working with companies that supply consumer products, durable goods, industrial inputs, components, as well as those offering information, communication, and technology services, and guiding them through the issues that arise as those products and services are conceived in design through manufacturing and then leave the factory doors making way to end users. We work with clients to maximize the value of their products and their brands at every step of the product's lifecycle and distribution chain – and to minimize unpleasant surprises, whether they come from litigation, adverse regulatory action, or damage to brand value through identifying and managing risks.
We advise clients on making their products and services compliant with the regulations of the markets in which they operate. If needed, we assist in devising strategies dealing with non- compliance, such as negotiating with authorities and implementing remedying actions and product recall operations.
In a complex global environment, the International Trade Group of Crowell & Moring provides practical, sophisticated advice and cross-disciplinary counsel. We are recognized as a top international trade practice for export control, trade litigation matters (including antidumping, countervailing/antisubsidy, and safeguard matters), and customs.
Export controls and sanctions regulations present significant challenges and potential compliance risks for global companies. With respect to the EU and its 27 Member States, our lawyers advise on legislation regarding export controls of dual-use and defense-related items, including intra-EU transfers of defense-related items and EU economic sanctions regimes. Our European lawyers and paralegals are proficient in numerous languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, and Chinese — skills that are an essential component of effective service in the field of EU trade law.
Our experience in international trade relations and the negotiation of trade agreements uniquely positions us to advance policy initiatives that can help to reduce market-to-market regulatory divergences or find policy-based solutions to reduce specific EU regulatory burdens. The current negotiations between the U.S. and EU for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement present particularly important opportunities in this regard. Our lawyers, working with the former government trade negotiators at our affiliate C&M International, can help clients leverage these policy tools in order to bring about real-world cost savings and expanded market access opportunities.
Our life sciences team has a detailed understanding of the Belgian and EU regulatory framework relating to the life sciences sector. We advise and litigate on all regulatory issues, including marketing authorizations, orphan drug designations, pricing and reimbursement decisions, government reforms of the healthcare system, and parallel import authorizations. We have represented clients before the Belgian administrative and civil courts, and assisted clients in procedures before the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and other regulatory bodies.
PRIVACY & CYBERSECURITY
For almost 15 years, we have been closely following evolutions in the privacy and data protection field. Together with our colleagues in the U.S., we regularly advise on the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S. in the framework of, for example, U.S. discovery proceedings or U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. Information management, which we consider to be one of the most crucial assets of any business or service, takes on a significant importance in our practice, which is highlighted by the creation of a Privacy & Cybersecurity Group at Crowell & Moring, bringing together our privacy, cybersecurity and e-discovery lawyers.
We also have extensive experience in performing and coordinating global or EU-wide privacy audits and compliance projects, helping clients better understand their data processing, mapping of the location and flows of the data, and identification of potential threats and compliance issues. We implement tailor-made privacy programs, which may include the drafting of privacy policies and procedures, standard contractual terms, notices, data transfer agreements, and advising on security measures to be taken. Where necessary, we assist the client with the notifications to the various Data Protection Authorities in Europe.
In today’s internet age, an important part of our practice consists of advising clients on internet and e-mail monitoring, the use of cameras (inside our outside of the workplace) as well as on the use of social media at the work place. We advise European telecommunications companies and internet service providers on their privacy and data protection obligations, including under the EU Data Retention Directive.
Our team represents a wide variety of national and multinational clients in the telecommunications industry. Our experience covers all types of networks and platforms; fixed, mobile, satellite, cable, television, and the Internet. Our services include counseling clients on regulatory requirements applicable to their activities in Belgium and throughout the rest of Europe, such as licensing requirements, access to and the use of numbering capacity, lawful intercept obligations, data protection and retention requirements, contractual obligations and information requirements towards end-users, as well as value added services. We regularly represent our clients before all relevant courts and regulatory bodies, such as the sector regulator BIPT/IBPT, and specialized chambers of the Court of Appeal of Brussels. Our firm was involved in a number of headline-grabbing cases in electronic communications over the last few years, and is recognized as one of the leading law firms advising on electronic communications in Belgium.
TOP-LEVEL DOMAINS (TLDS) & DOMAIN NAMES
Crowell & Moring has a well-known and experienced TLDs & Domain Name Practice. We dealt with the very first initiated disputes related to TLDs and have handled hundreds of domain name cases ever since. Our team has vast experience in cyber squatting cases before EU and U.S. courts, and before alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the National Arbitration Forum, CAC, and the Belgian Center for Arbitration and Mediation. Our lawyers also assist in developing both offensive and defensive strategies towards the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program, and in providing regulatory and contractual advice to both established and new players in internet-related industries. We have been conducting leading objection matters in which we successfully defended applications for new TLDs before ADR bodies, including WIPO, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.
WHITE COLLAR CRIME
Our team regularly advises and represents public institutions as well as multinational and local companies in a broad class of criminal matters. As prevention is better than cure, we also organize internal trainings with our clients about criminal company law, an area that is continually expanding and being modified. We help our clients, namely by developing compliance programs and codes of conduct, to assess and limit the risks they face, which are frequently underestimated. We also assist our clients in their interactions with the regulatory authorities and defend them in court when necessary. Our services in the area of white collar crime include, but are not limited to: public and private bribery, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds, theft, concealment, forgery, fraud, offences to labor law and to intellectual property (e.g., counterfeiting).
Our team has extensive knowledge of anti-bribery rules in specific industries, such as the pharmaceutical sector. We help to ensure compliance by our clients with the legislation, as well as ethical codes and guidelines that have emerged over the past few years in order to regulate the grey area between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals. We assist our clients in drafting and implementing internal guidelines, for example, setting out the possibilities and limitations of hospitality towards healthcare professionals, the sponsoring of events, the offering of gifts or benefits, the granting of commercial rebates and the remuneration for services provided by healthcare professionals.
OUR INDUSTRY AND SECTOR SPECIALTIES
Our EU Regulatory practice spans virtually every industry sector. Our main clients in this field include a leading U.S. manufacturer of electric vehicles, a major U.S. pharmaceutical company, a U.S. plastics manufacturer, major manufacturers of toys and sports equipment, the leading Belgian cable distributor, various leading U.S. manufacturers of switching equipment and telecoms networks, a U.S. aluminum and mining company, major paper manufacturers, a Canadian security services company, a leading tobacco manufacturer, and a global manufacturer of aerial work platforms, construction equipment, cranes, materials processing and mining products, and road building and utility products.