Key Industry

Consumer Products

Patterson Belknap attorneys are often called upon at critical moments by many of the nation’s best-known brands. By providing high-quality legal services, with a unique understanding of client business needs, our attorneys counsel consumer products companies on a broad range of matters, ranging from intellectual property and false advertising concerns to complex mergers and acquisitions.

False Advertising

Our false advertising attorneys represent well-known household brands in many of the most notable false advertising cases throughout the nation. These include numerous false advertising class actions in which we have successfully defeated class certification. In addition to litigation, we regularly represent clients at the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD), at the major television networks, and before the Federal Trade Commission. We counsel consumer products clients on advertising clearance and product labeling review, analysis of claims support and the full range of day-to-day questions that arise in the regular conduct of our clients' business.

We regularly represent several of the nation's leading consumer products companies in litigation concerning advertising claims for various household products such as laundry detergents, plastic storage bags, cleaning solvents, water filters and pest control products. For example, we have defended a leading cosmetics company in a putative class action brought by salons against several manufacturers of products intended for sale in salons; the marketer of a top line of oral care products in an MDL proceeding consolidated in the Southern District of Florida disputing the labeling and advertising for a mouthwash; and a leading pharmaceutical company in securing the dismissal of a putative class action lawsuit accusing our client of using false and misleading labeling to market a consumer product.

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Patterson Belknap's Anti-Counterfeiting Practice Team assists clients in addressing the broad range of issues they face in this area. On an ongoing basis, our attorneys advise clients on proactive approaches that can be implemented to prevent counterfeiting and, in the event it does occur, to discover the problem as soon as possible. Our attorneys understand the critical role that the protection of intellectual property plays in the fight against counterfeiters, working closely with our Intellectual Property Group on key issues involving patents and trademarks to ensure that clients’ brands are appropriately secured.

In recent years, we were awarded summary or default judgment for our client, a major manufacturer of household products, against 36 defendants who had trafficked in counterfeit condoms. The award included statutory damages totaling $92.3 million to the client, attorneys' fees, and permanent injunctions preventing the defendants from ever again selling counterfeit products. This amount, combined with a previous $8 million award for contempt against three of the defendants, brings the total damages awarded to more than $100 million.

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Intellectual Property

Our litigators have long been at the cutting edge of patent, trademark and unfair competition litigation. For example, we won a jury verdict that our client did not infringe a patent on a contact lens. The district court upheld the verdict and, as a further basis for the judgment, relied on our cross-examination of the patentee’s expert as a basis for striking his testimony and further held that without that testimony the patentee lacked evidence needed to prove infringement. The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of noninfringement in our client’s favor.

In addition, we are defending a leading consumer products company in a trademark infringement arbitration involving one of our client's best-selling products. The action arises from allegations that our client violated trademark rights and breached a license agreement through the use of redesigned packaging. In another matter,

The lawyers in this area also counsel clients on trademark and trade dress issues and handle trademark filings. Our Intellectual Property attorneys have counseled consumer products clients on all aspects of trademarks, including analysis of trademark availability and enforcement of trademark rights, and have conducted trademark due diligence and advised on transfers in connection with corporate acquisitions. Our attorneys counsel clients on ways to protect trade secrets and ideas and to minimize claims of misappropriation of those secrets. Our attorneys have drafted agreements for confidential disclosure of ideas and protection of trade secrets in consumer products, toy, manufacturing and movie industries and have negotiated confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements and trade secret licenses for consumer products, books, and movies.

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Mergers and Acquisitions

Consumer products companies often turn to Patterson Belknap for their M&A deals. Our clients know that Patterson Belknap partners lead every step of the way, the primary deal team remains intact throughout the deal, and legal experience in areas that may be needed to support the deal is effectively and efficiently integrated and managed. For example, the firm’s intellectual property attorneys play a significant role in many M&A transactions, including performing intellectual property due diligence; negotiating intellectual property representations and warranties; and resolving problems raised by licensing, distribution and other related agreements.

While many mergers and acquisitions are straightforward sales or purchases of an entity, a product line, equity or assets, it is also common for transactions to have a variety of contingent components, such as the sale of a product line and the license of certain of its manufacturing technology, or a restructuring or consolidation before or after the transaction. Our attorneys coordinate effectively to handle these issues as seamless elements of the transaction.

Recently, our M&A team represented a luxury beauty product and spa service retailer in its acquisition by a major department store. The department store reported that the $210 million acquisition would enable it to expand its selection of beauty products while increasing its nationwide presence. Our attorneys also regularly represent a global electronics company in corporate acquisitions and dispositions, including its $200 million sale of one of its operating divisions.

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