Christopher A. Cole

Partner
Washington, D.C.
ccole@crowell.com
Phone: +1 202.624.2701
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Christopher Cole is the co-chair of Crowell & Moring's Advertising & Media Group, a team that provides interdisciplinary solutions to companies facing challenging competitive and regulatory issues. Chris focuses on false advertising litigation, unfair competition, reputation, brand disparagement, and intellectual property. He is an experienced litigator, handling Lanham Act and consumer class action cases, and defending against Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement and related investigations. He has handled dozens of cases before the National Advertising Division (NAD). 

For nearly a decade, Chris been ranked among the top false advertising litigators in the country by Chambers & Partners, which describes him as a “terrific business partner,” “an exceptional lawyer,” and "a huge leader at the Bar in terms of advertising [who] can connect what is important to companies with understanding their limitations." Chris has also been recognized for his “ability to understand the scientific side of advertising cases.”

He is included by SuperLawyers among the top Media and First Amendment lawyers in Washington, D.C., and by Best Lawyers in America for Advertising Law.

Chris also has a varied and active counseling practice. He is widely respected as an authority on advertising claims substantiation and the associated sciences of product testing and consumer research. He has overseen consumer protection regulatory due diligence in transactions. And, he provides strategic and risk management guidance to some of the world's leading companies in industries such as food and beverages, media and telecommunications, home appliances, technology, and consumer products.

Chris is an editor of the ABA's major treatise on Consumer Protection Law and Developments, author of the chapter on “Claims Substantiation” in the ABA’s Advertising Claims Substantiation Handbook, and is a frequent speaker and commentator on advertising issues.

Representative Matters

  • Antitrust/consumer protection. Worked with trial team as the lead AT&T lawyer on consumer survey and measurement issues in the landmark United States v. AT&T, Inc., et al., litigation by the U.S. government to enjoin AT&T’s merger with Time WarnerIn a lengthy section of its opinion, the court relied on the work by Chris and his experienced team in rejecting the opinions of the government’s key consumer survey and media valuation experts, which were key underpinnings to the government’s model of economic injury.
  • FTC Investigations. Represents major advertisers in conjunction with both ongoing and successfully closed investigations and litigation by the FTC in the areas of telecommunications, beverages, consumer products, and technology. Lead counsel for Kimberly-Clark Corporation in recently closed FTC investigation into flushable wipes.
  • NAD/NARB. Handled over 50 NAD and NARB matters in just the last five years for clients such as AT&T, DIRECTV, Kimberly-Clark, Matrixx Initiatives, S.C. Johnson, Scotts Company, Intuit, MillerCoors, Honeywell, Samsung, Zero Technologies, Energizer/Edgewell, and Walmart. Member of the ABA task force that conducted a comprehensive review and prepared recommendations for modification of NAD operating procedures, which resulted in substantial changes to NAD's rules.
  • Lanham Act. Lead counsel in numerous Lanham Act false advertising cases, many involving applications for emergency relief, on behalf of clients such as AT&T, Expedia, Edgewell, MillerCoors, Scotts Company, 3M, Zero Technologies, Dyson, and Kimberly-Clark. Co-lead attorney representing MillerCoors in its its false advertising case against Anheuser-Busch, arising out of Anheuser’s 2019 Super Bowl campaign in which it attacked Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup. In two opinions, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin enjoined significant portions of the campaign, including packaging for Bud Light beer.
  • Class Actions. Defense counsel on consumer class actions regarding consumer product, food, and dietary supplement companies. Representing major food companies in defense of litigation alleging that claims of “natural” or “clean” food are false or misleading due to the presence of minute quantities of environmentally-related pesticide residues that derive from farming.
  • Counseling and risk management. Chris serves as outside counsel to various Fortune 500 companies, providing and coordinating through Crowell & Moring and a network of global firms, worldwide advice in areas of product regulation, advertising, competition and risk mitigation.
  • Pro bono. Chris maintains an active pro bono practice. He has represented U.S. veterans, organizations dedicated to helping victims of violent crimes, and national advocacy organizations for reproductive rights. Chris also represents a national gun control organization in media and reputational matters.


Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia

Memberships

Chair, ABA Antitrust Section, Committee on Private Advertising Litigation
Chapter Editor, ABA Treatise on Consumer Protection Law and Developments
Chapter Author, ABA Advertising Claims Substantiation Handbook


Recent Highlights, News & Knowledge

Legal 500 United States Ranks Crowell & Moring in Six Practice Areas in 2021 Guide (Jun.14.2021) Firm News / Announcement
"Crypto's Enviro Costs Present Challenges For Companies," Law360 (May 21, 2021). Authors: Christopher A. Cole, Elizabeth B. Dawson, Lynn Phan, Michelle Ann Gitlitz, and Allison Skager. Publication
Chambers USA 2021 Ranks 63 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 30 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S. (May.20.2021) Firm News / Announcement
"Will the Upholding of Facebook’s Trump Ban Have First Amendment Implications?," (May 6, 2021). Contacts: Christopher A. Cole, Kayvan M. Ghaffari, Suzanne Trivette Client Alert / Newsletter
"The Supreme Court Limits FTC’s §13(b) Powers," Advertising & State AG Alert (April 27, 2021). Contacts: Christopher A. Cole, Raija Horstman, Jacob Canter, Helen Osun, Akhil Sheth Client Alert / Newsletter
"DC’s Consumer Protection Law Presents Risks for Companies Advertising Clean Energy Efforts: Just Ask Exxon," (April 22, 2021). Contacts: Christopher A. Cole, Preetha Chakrabarti, Eryn Howington Client Alert / Newsletter
"Harmonized Approach to Rulemaking: FTC Announces New Rulemaking Group," Crowell & Moring’s Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer (April 2, 2021). Authors: Christopher A. Cole and Siri Rao. Publication
The FTC is Paying Out $6.5 Million to Consumers in Connection with Fashion Nova Settlement The Fashion Law (March 26, 2021) Media Mentions
Crowell & Moring Establishes Global Environmental, Social, and Governance Advisory Team (Mar.15.2021) Firm News / Announcement
"Meat Product Companies Face Increasing Litigation for Humane Raising Claims," Advertising & State AG Alert (March 12, 2021). Contacts: Christopher A. Cole, Roy Abernathy, Helen Osun, Mariam Sarwar, Roy Abernathy Client Alert / Newsletter