Toys and Games



Working to Provide Sophisticated Advice and Superior Results in the Toy and Game Industry

Succeeding in the toy and game industry isn’t just about coming up with winning product ideas.  As top toy and game manufacturers know, launching a new product and building and managing a successful company involve a whole host of complex business and legal challenges.

Securing the patents, trademarks and copyrights you need, and ensuring that your company’s intellectual property is fully protected is a definite priority.  Beyond that, toy and game businesses also have to comply with a wide range of legal and regulatory issues, covering everything from product liability to children’s advertising and privacy protection.

At Venable, our attorneys understand the issues you are facing.  We offer the depth and breadth of experience and know-how required to help you navigate the full range of legal and regulatory challenges.  Our toy and game practice includes some of the most sophisticated attorneys focusing on intellectual property, advertising, regulatory compliance, and consumer product safety issues.  Whether you need assistance procuring new patents or trademarks, setting up a licensing deal, taking on counterfeiters, we’re ready and able to help.  Likewise, the attorneys in our advertising, privacy and data protection, and regulatory groups are widely regarded as among the top practitioners in their fields. Our attorneys have deep connections at the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We also have a strong track record defending product liability and consumer class action matters. 

In short, we cover all the bases in the array of legal services we provide.  We’re committed to getting the job done as cost-effectively as possible.  We not only offer one-stop shopping, and fully integrated solutions to the problems and challenges our clients face, we deliver superior value too. 

Our Practice Areas

Intellectual Property: Protecting your most valuable asset

Our intellectual property group is comprised of more than 50 lawyers, including patent, trademark and copyright practitioners, as well as many of the firm’s most skilled trial lawyers.  In all, we have more than 30 registered patent attorneys, many of whom have Ph.D.’s or other advanced degrees.  

As for our effectiveness, our patent prosecutors routinely score a patent allowance rate approximately 25% percent higher than the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office average, and our trademark practice was recently ranked in the top 10 for trademark filings by Intellectual Property Today

Our litigation team, for its part, has a proven record of winning high-stakes intellectual property cases, as well as major settlements for clients.  We have argued successfully before the Supreme Court, including a landmark copyright case that Legal Times described as “the most import trade dress matter litigated since 1998.”

The clients we represent range from inventors to start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.  With every type of matter we take on, our attorneys take the time to understand our clients’ broader business objectives, and work closely with them to help them meet their goals.

Our capabilities include: 

  • Professional advice and guidance through every stage of product development
  • Preparing and prosecuting patent, trademark and copyright applications
  • Reviewing and negotiating license agreements
  • Enforcement actions against counterfeiters
  • Litigation of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets cases on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants

Professional Advice on Advertising and Marketing

For companies that manufacture children’s toys and games, reaching the kids’ market is essential.  But it’s often difficult to navigate federal and state advertising regulations, and to figure out precisely what the rules governing advertising and marketing aimed at children do and do not allow.

Like our privacy and data security lawyers, the attorneys in our advertising and marketing group are leaders in their field.  They’re also proficient in compliance, and will provide the guidance you need to ensure that your company’s marketing and ad campaigns don’t run afoul of government regulators, or of ad industry-promulgated rules set by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit.  

If regulators do raise objections to your ads or marketing, we can help on that front too.  Our lawyers have a strong track record of helping clients defend and quickly resolve advertising-related complaints and regulatory enforcement actions brought by the FTC. We are equally adept at fending off lawsuits brought by rival companies attacking our clients’ products or ads.

Professional Advice on Privacy and Data Security Issues

Venable’s lawyers know how high the stakes are for toy and game manufacturers when it comes to consumer privacy and data security. 

Over the years, our attorneys have successfully defended dozens of clients in privacy-related enforcement actions by state and federal regulators, as well as in class action suits stemming from data security breaches. 

We’re widely recognized as one of the premiere practice groups in privacy and data security-related litigation.  Our guiding philosophy has always been that it’s far better to head off trouble before it occurs.  We’re also experienced at advising companies on compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and other privacy-related federal and state regulations.

As part of that process, we conduct thorough privacy reviews and data security audits to help clients mitigate risk.  Should a breach happen, however, we’ll also work with you to navigate the fall-out, and help you mount the strongest defense possible in any resulting civil litigation or in enforcement actions by the FTC or other government agencies.

Mitigating Product Safety and Product Liability Risk

No toy or game manufacturer likes to consider the possibility that a product of theirs might be recalled because it’s unsafe.  But should that sort of scenario ever happen, the attorneys in Venable’s government and regulatory group have the knowledge and hands-on experience required to help clients facing product safety issues manage and mitigate the damage.

Many of our attorneys have previously worked inside federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product and Safety Commission.  They have a keen understanding of how regulators think and work and of how to help clients resolve product safety issues and recalls as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Likewise, the attorneys in our litigation group have represented dozens of clients in product liability-related class actions, so they can help you to minimize the liability risks your company might be facing with the strongest possible defense in any post-recall civil litigation.

The Best of Both Worlds

At Venable, we’ve worked hard to build a depth of knowledge and experience that few large law firms can match as well as a range of skills and services that is impossible to find at a boutique firm.

In other words, we offer clients the best of both worlds.  No matter what type of issue your company is facing, you can count on Venable to provide superior legal representation and client service—and all at a fair and reasonable rate.
 
REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

A small sampling of representative matters we have handled in the toy and game industry follow.

Venable represented Gemmy Industries in patent litigation in federal court in New York and the Federal Circuit. The case focused on patent validity, false marking, and false advertising involving inflatable lawn decorations.  Venable obtained a successful Federal Circuit appeal of the lower court’s invalidity decision.

In one of the most important trademark cases in the past decade, Venable won a unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart v. Samara Brothers. The decision reversed a jury verdict against Wal-Mart and established an important new principle of law – that in order to gain trademark protection for a product design, a manufacturer must prove that the look of a product automatically identifies its creator. The bright-line decision removed barriers to competition that were created by the prior unsettled state of the law in this area.

A Venable attorney successfully settled a right-of-publicity claim on behalf of a prominent toy manufacturer for their alleged use of a sound-alike song recording in a toy.

A Venable attorney represented an online fan community for teens with respect to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation of alleged Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations.

Venable provides general advertising and marketing advice to various consumer products companies.

Venable counsels a major toy company on green marketing initiatives. 

Venable attorneys defended NAD challenges on behalf of major children’s education toy company regarding substantiation for early learning claims.

Venable counsels an up and coming toy company regarding trademark use and registration, including clearing and registering marks.

Venable counsels a start-up company of children’s products and services regarding all areas of intellectual property protection, including licensing, copyright acquisition, patent acquisition, trademark clearance and registration and domain name issues.
 
Venable assists various licensees and licensors in negotiation and drafting of license agreements and contract language. 

Venable develops patent portfolios for toy and game manufacturers.

Venable counsels an established toy and game PR firm in defense of trademark claims.