Retailers operate in an extremely competitive environment in which they must comply with and react to changes in a broad range of laws, while costs are carefully managed. To be successful in today’s economic environment, retailers need to be pro-active in creating complete and accurate company policies, ensuring that company policy and procedure is disseminated throughout the organization. These policies and procedures require updating frequently and quickly as new federal, state and local laws are enacted and as new case law in various jurisdictions create new obligations.
Bryan Cave understands retailers are subject to regulation on a wide range of topics including employee relations, customer relations, product safety, privacy laws, trade regulation, intellectual property, advertising, corporate agreements, e-commerce issues, litigation and real estate. We provide the legal advice and business acumen retailers need to keep up with the changing legal environment. Specifically, our experience in assisting retailers in intellectual property protection, commercial agreements, licenses, trade regulation, employment, compliance and litigation has led to significant cost savings for our clients and their shareholders. Our retail practice is multi-disciplinary, with lawyers from our Intellectual Property; Technology, Entrepreneurial and Commercial Practice; Transactions; Corporate Finance and Securities; Labor and Employment; Commercial Litigation; Real Estate; Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation; and International Trade Client Service Groups. Our comprehensive approach includes:
- Targeted Expertise: Our team of lawyers has experience dealing with the issues national and international retailers face daily.
- Reduced Risk: We provide proactive advice and assist in the creation of policies that reduce exposure to litigation and regulatory risk.
- Effective Defense: We provide defense of claims based on our experience with similar claims against other companies.
- Clear Strategy: Attorneys in our retail group provide strategic guidance to clients developing compliance, trade regulation, intellectual property, employee relations and other legal programs.
We advise some of the largest international, national and regional retailers in a variety of specialties including home furnishings, clothing and footwear, computer games, restaurants, books, cosmetics, sporting goods and discount stores. Our experience includes:
- Intellectual Property Creation and Protection: Bryan Cave regularly advises retailers on brand protection in the U.S. and internationally, including trademark, trade dress, trade secret and copyright protection, and regularly defends retailers against claims of trademark, copyright and design patent infringement. Our patent lawyers work with many retail clients to defend against patent infringement claims, including the most recent spate of business process patent infringement complaints against retailers. We work with retailers to protect their trademarks in the domain name marketplace, and advise regarding use of ad words and keywords. We have experience in anti-counterfeiting work and have extensive resources throughout Asia in the offices of our trade consulting affiliate, Bryan Cave International Consulting LLC (BCIC), to support anti-counterfeiting efforts.
- Compliance and Regulatory Services: Our lawyers understand the nuances of the CPSC, FDA, FTC and state regulatory frameworks including California Prop 65 toxic chemical regulation. We also have expertise at the state and local level to assist clients in navigating weights and measures, taxation, advertising regulation (BBB) and environmental issues.
- Trade Regulation and Customs: Bryan Cave has an extensive international trade practice advising retailers on the laws regulating the global trade in goods. Our firm has a nationwide and global Customs practice that regularly handles Customs seizures, Customs' enforcement of import relief measures, issues of tariff classification and valuation, textile quotas, country of origin marking and clearance of imports (among other issues). Through BCIC, we provide Customs advisory services through offices in China and South East Asia. Bryan Cave also advises clients on the application of antidumping and countervailing duties, safeguards and other import remedies, export controls and economic sanctions, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- Litigation: Bryan Cave litigators represent retailers throughout the U.S. in federal and state courts in a wide range of litigation including consumer class actions, data security matters, ADA premises litigation, Prop 65 litigation, employment litigation (including wage and hour class actions, employment discrimination litigation and wrongful termination), trademark, copyright and patent litigation, defense of business process patent litigation, real estate litigation (including construction, leasing and tenant improvement disputes), premises and product liability cases, and commercial disputes.
- Business Agreements: Retailers regularly enter into agreements in the IT and services areas. We leverage our experience negotiating similar contracts for other retailers to provide cost effective contract review for routine and complex contracts, and to ensure that clients’ interests are protected in the short and long term. Bryan Cave lawyers work with clients on distribution and purchasing agent agreements, real estate transactions, capital purchases and equipment leases, and provide targeted expertise to manage legal costs in these areas.
- Real Estate: Bryan Cave has a highly experienced real estate client service group that provides cost-effective leasing services to retailers across the U.S. In addition, our real estate lawyers provide counseling on landlord/tenant issues, including mall bankruptcies, construction and premises defects. We also work with retail clients on real estate development and construction projects.
- Labor and Employment Issues: Retailers face a highly litigious environment in which federal, state and local labor laws create a complex and sometimes conflicting web of regulations. Bryan Cave employment lawyers have experience in sorting through the layers of regulation in the employment context including wage and hour, health care, pay cards, social media, discrimination, leave administration, organized workforces, store closings, layoffs and other termination-related issues. Our lawyers have assisted national retail clients with adopting alternative dispute resolution programs, conducting employment practices and wage and hour compliance audits, and reviewing commission and other incentive compensation plans. We have substantial experience in defending employment class actions, including discrimination claims, benefits issues and wage and hour claims. In addition, we have expertise in international employment issues, as well as Department of Labor and OSHA investigations and other regulatory matters.
- E-commerce: Bryan Cave lawyers have expertise in creating and tailoring website terms and conditions, privacy policies and other agreements for retail clients’ e-commerce operations. In addition, we stay up-to-date on new regulations in the e-commerce space and continue to update our clients as new consumer/regulatory issues arise. Our team negotiates provider agreements, advertising and other e-commerce agreements on a regular basis.
- Finance and Corporate Transactions: Bryan Cave represents a number of retail clients in connection with their 1934 Act filings, including 10K and 10Q reports. In addition, we have represented a number of retail clients in connection with their securities offerings. As a result, our corporate finance and securities lawyers are familiar with the types of issues that are material to the retail industry and are able to represent our clients more effectively and efficiently.
- Franchise: Bryan Cave’s Franchise and Distribution law team represent franchisors and franchisees in a wide range of industries including hotels, restaurants, booksellers, consumer goods and electronics. Our franchise attorneys counsel clients about international expansion, franchise litigation, franchise agreements, contracts and disclosure documents, and regulatory matters. We have represented franchisors expanding into North America, and also represented franchisors seeking to export their North American franchise system to other points on the globe.
- Credit Card and Banking Issues: Bryan Cave has a vibrant payment card practice that covers a broad range of payment-related issues, including credit cards, debit cards, gift cards (including special purpose gift card entities), payroll cards, bill payment services and international remittances. We are counsel to the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and members of the Retail Gift Card Association. Bryan Cave also has an extensive banking practice and regularly advises clients − including retail clients − in connection with private and public debt, letters of credit, syndicated credit facilities, derivatives, and hedging agreements and other types of financings.