Consumer Products and Services

In contrast to law firms that treat consumer products in discrete and narrow legal areas, Venable has built an integrated Consumer Products and Services practice with attorneys who understand not only the legal issues but also the business implications of choices made across the entire development and marketing life cycle of consumer products.

In addition to the pressures of a crowded marketplace, companies that sell products and services to consumers face greater scrutiny and oversight from federal and state regulatory agencies than ever before. Venable helps marketers get their messages and their products to consumers, despite these seeming impediments.

Regulatory Know-how That Facilitates Product Development

Many of our clients market products such as cosmetics, OTC drugs, dietary supplements, and food products. We advise them throughout product development, design and implementation of clinical studies, approval, production, and marketing.

Our Consumer Products and Services attorneys have served in the regulatory agencies—experience that is valuable in navigating the regulatory maze and gaining approval from the FDA, the FTC, and NAD, as well as in business negotiations, legislative advocacy, crisis management, and international regulatory matters.

Intellectual Property Protection Delivered by One of the Leading IP Practices

We help clients establish and maintain their brand identities in the marketplace. In addition to patent protection, we have extensive experience in all aspects of domestic and international trademark law and related areas such as domain names, trade dress, and unfair competition.

Consumer products and services companies call on us to deal with copyright infringements, copyright registrations, product licensing, work-for-hire agreements, ownership disputes, software licensing, and e-commerce and website matters. Annually, Venable attorneys file from 100 to 200 U.S. copyright applications and from 600 to 700 U.S. trademark applications.

Brand Image Protection from Trial Lawyers Who Understand Consumer Marketing

If your brand is at stake, litigation may be your only option to protect what you've built. We're qualified to help because we've frequently faced IP disputes involving consumer products. We assess the potential costs and benefits of each approach. We know what evidence and arguments the courts are looking for. And we know how long it will take and what other factors are likely to come into play.

Advertising and Marketing Advice That Prevents Problems with Regulators

Marketing messages for consumer products and services can be a legal minefield for the unwary, since they must meet ever-evolving standards set by several federal agencies and must also withstand fierce monitoring by consumer watchdog groups.

Venable attorneys have helped develop messages for a wide range of products. Each year, we review copy for hundreds of television and radio commercials, print ads, catalogues, direct mail, free-standing inserts, and telemarketing.

In addition to helping clients avoid regulatory issues, we assist in planning and executing multi-channel marketing strategies, including TV, Internet, and direct-response campaigns.

Decades of Experience Handling Competition Issues in the Consumer Context

Product manufacturers, marketers, service providers, and retailers frequently face false advertising and unfair competition claims. On many occasions, we have helped clients in emergency litigation involving temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. We have tried many jury and non-jury cases in federal and state courts on matters involving advertising, direct-to-consumer marketing, and e-commerce.

Commercials That Are Effective (and Legal)

Venable attorneys work with writers, producers, on-camera talent, and off-camera professionals in the production of radio and television commercials, infomercials, print ads, and other advertising. We attend the filming of long and short-form television commercials to ensure compliance with advertising laws and regulations.

Sweepstakes and Promotional Contests That Work across the Country

Promotional contests and sweepstakes are often part of a consumer marketing strategy, but they must satisfy an array of confusing state and federal standards. We help plan successful campaigns—and we draft contest rules, handle registration and bonding, review advertising and direct-marketing materials, and provide support in areas such as protection from litigation.

Whatever the Medium, We Help Ensure That Your Message Gets Through

Our attorneys represent clients before the FCC, FTC, and the Postal Rate Commission and in federal courts on the full range of communications and direct-marketing issues. In addition, consumer-product clients benefit from the wide resources of Venable in all aspects of communications law, including direct-marketing uses of electronic media and mass-media distribution of programming via conventional television and multi-channel distribution systems.

  • Telemarketing and email marketing – We review inbound and outbound scripts for compliance with the FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule and state laws. And we have defended many cases involving electronic marketing and have resolved a significant number of federal and state investigations
  • Direct-response, Internet and new media marketing – Venable has served many clients in the operation of direct-marketing campaigns and has lobbied and drafted provisions for industry-changing legislation such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996

Client Focus

  • Advertising agencies
  • Book publishers
  • Consumer electronics manufacturers
  • Credit card companies
  • Direct-response advertisers
  • Entertainment companies
  • Magazines
  • Retailers
  • Sound-recording producers
  • Telecommunications companies

Government Experience

Agency Experience

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Department of Commerce
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • International Trade Commission
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office