Melissa Landau Steinman

Partner
Steinman Melissa

Melissa Steinman focuses on advertising and marketing, including litigation, antitrust, trade regulation, and consumer protections. Melissa is particularly knowledgeable in the technology, retail, media, gaming, and hospitality industries. She also actively represents clients in government investigations and defends clients in class action cases. Melissa also assists nonprofit organizations and others with charitable promotions and commercial co-ventures. She represents celebrities, producers, and notable businesses, and trade associations involved in consumer products and services, media, Internet gaming, gambling, software, technology, and telecommunications.

Melissa works closely with clients to review their advertising and marketing materials, and vet their pricing and sales claims. She advises on product safety issues – devising product warranties and providing guidance on mitigating potential product safety issues. Melissa has managed Lanham Act and complex advertising and marketing litigation, as lead counsel before U.S. federal and state courts.

Melissa has developed an extensive promotions and online gaming practice as well. She counsels clients on gift card, rebate, "free" gift, and loyalty programs. She combines her understanding of prize promotions law, digital media regulations, and U.S. regulations in advising on social media promotions and user-generated content.

Melissa assists industry trade groups in creating their own industry-specific rules. She has drafted antitrust policies and standards, certification programs, codes of ethics, and other self-regulatory programs and policies. Her practice encompasses antitrust issues related to minimum advertised price and resale price maintenance, price discrimination, and other issues relevant to product purchases and sales.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • Assisted BlackBerry Limited (formerly Research in Motion Ltd.) in an international, cross-media, multi-promotion effort as it launched its “bet-the-company” Z10 product line. Her work included advising the client on reviewing concepts, negotiating agency contracts and promotion services agreements, creating terms and conditions, and supervising global clearance and registration of multiple sweepstakes and other promotions
  • Helped MicroStrategy, Inc., a multinational software company, develop and launch an international prize promotion, in conjunction with one of the world’s most prominent soccer franchises, that ran in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan. Her work involved structuring the promotion, advising the client on U.S. compliance requirements for marketing materials, and supervising the legal clearance of the promotion in the listed countries, utilizing Venable’s network of international counsel. The matter was an outgrowth of Melissa’s work for the client in developing a new social media application that interfaces with a user’s Facebook account to create a Craig’s List-like platform that is limited to users’ social graph (i.e., their friends and friends of friends on that particular social media platform)
  • Performed a comprehensive assessment and update of Capital One’s regulatory database to ensure that all future promotions will be compliant with federal and state regulations, such as the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD); lottery and prize promotions laws; state gift card laws; and state unfair, deceptive, abusive advertising practices (UDAAP) statutes
  • Provided comprehensive advertising counseling to Marriott International, Inc. as it prepared a global re-branding campaign, including review of all advertising, social media outreach, and sweepstakes and promotions
  • Analyzed whether the pay-to-enter "road show" version of a major game show would constitute illegal gambling under state or federal law
  • Represented the defendant in one of the first resale price maintenance cases filed after the Supreme Court's decision in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS, Inc.
  • Drafted numerous association certification and standard-setting programs, and counseled client on related antitrust compliance issues

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. Harvard Law School 1993
  • B.A. cum laude Columbia University 1990

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Consumer Protection and Privacy Subcommittees
  • Member, Maryland State Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Brand Activation Association, Board Member; chair, 34th Annual Marketing Law Conference; member, Legal and Government Affairs Center of Excellence
  • Member, Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Contributes to Venable’s blog, All About Advertising Law
  • Wrote and edited the Guide to Federal and State Regulation of Advertising, a comprehensive two-volume book/CD on the law of advertising and promotions
  • Contributed chapters to the ABA’s Consumer Protection Law Handbook, and Advertising and Its Substantiation Handbook
  • Contributed to Globe Law and Business’s International Advertising Law
  • Contributed to the Promotion Marketing Association’s treatise, Promotion Marketing Law
  • Contributes commentary to the Los Angeles Times, and other notable publications

Recognition
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  • Recognized in Legal 500
    • Media, Technology and Telecoms - Advertising and Marketing - Transactional, 2019
    • Marketing and Advertising, 2010 - 2014

Community
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Volunteerism

  • Class agent, Columbia College Class of 1990