Patterson Belknap represents some of the nation’s largest and most popular food and beverage companies on a variety of legal matters. In an industry in which brand integrity and reputation are critical, we help our clients protect these key assets from false advertising claims brought by competitors, consumers and regulatory agencies. We also work with clients to formulate advertising and trademark protection strategies through proactive counseling. When those trademarks are challenged or require legal action to be taken for their protection, our litigators ensure that our clients’ business interests are safeguarded.
Our work with food and beverage companies extends beyond brand protection and leverage. In areas including antitrust, anti-counterfeiting and general corporate matters, we work closely with clients to achieve their overall business goals in an effective and efficient manner. In 2016, Patterson Belknap was named one of Law360’s Food & Beverage Groups of the Year for our successful work in this industry.
Our nationally-recognized False Advertising attorneys represent food and beverage companies in high-profile litigations across the nation. Whether they are litigating on behalf of the world’s leading beverage company in a high-profile dispute over juice labeling, representing a Fortune 500 chocolate manufacturer in a putative consumer class action regarding the labeling of its dark chocolate and cocoa products, or obtaining a nationwide preliminary injunction for a leading animal health company in a case regarding ads that made false claims about dairy products, Patterson Belknap’s False Advertising team, led by Steve Zalesin, has been successful in some of the most notable false advertising cases throughout the nation.
In addition to litigation, our attorneys also 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 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. Christine Miller heads up the Firm’s advertising counseling group and is one of the most experienced and respected NAD practitioners in the country.
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Patterson Belknap is actively involved in litigating trademark disputes. Our practice is recognized among the top in New York by Chambers USA, which highlights our strength in both brand protection and copyright. Our litigators have long been at the cutting edge of trademark and unfair competition litigation. In one such case, we represented a leading manufacturer of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery in a trademark and trade dress dispute with a competitor, culminating in a settlement.
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In the antitrust area, our clients benefit from our attorneys’ experience in both the criminal and civil sides of government. Our team is led by the Firm's former co-chair William F. Cavanaugh, Jr., a skilled trial attorney who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. for Civil Enforcement in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
In the food and beverage industry, this team served as lead trial counsel in a multidistrict antitrust litigation in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, securing summary judgment for the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America. The plaintiffs in that case were direct purchasers (wholesalers and chain stores) that alleged our client conspired with other major chocolate manufacturers to fix the price of chocolate singles and “kings” in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007. The district court concluded that the record evidence led to the conclusion that “plaintiffs have adduced no evidence tending to exclude the possibility that defendants acted independently.”
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Product counterfeiting has grown substantially in recent years, affecting a variety of industries worldwide, including food and beverage, and costing the global economy billions of dollars annually. Patterson Belknap's Anti-Counterfeiting Practice Team assists clients in addressing the broad range of issues they face in this area, litigating counterfeiting and product diversion cases on behalf of major international corporations, often in situations where the counterfeit has the potential to cause serious injury or death.
For example, our attorneys prosecuted an anti-counterfeiting case against a well-organized and well-funded team of counterfeiters on behalf of a best-selling nutritional supplement, with annual retail sales of almost $1 billion. Additionally, they advise clients on proactive methods to secure products and packaging against counterfeiters and diverters, and on the development of programs to guard and monitor distribution channels.
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