Food & Beverage
Arnold & Porter maintains a leading food, beverage, and dietary supplement practice. Our clients retain us for their most challenging matters—frequently involving unusual state laws, complex scientific issues, and interaction among court proceedings, agency regulatory action, and legislative efforts—at the international, federal, state, and local level.
Our diverse client base includes manufacturers and distributors of packaged foods, alcoholic beverages, dietary supplements, and food additives; food and beverage retailers; vineyards, wineries, and breweries; and agribusiness companies. With decades of experience in this industry, we have a proven track record representing some of the world's biggest and best known brands as well as the leading trade associations for foods, beverages, and dietary supplements.
The depth of our practice is reflected in the wide array of services we provide to our clients, including:
Consumer Protection and Advertising. The firm's consumer protection practice handles litigation and challenges against food and beverage companies taking on a number of forms, including consumer class actions, Lanham Act cases, California Proposition 65 actions, and challenges before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council. Our attorneys also handle litigation matters that arise out of, or lead into, federal or state regulatory scrutiny, including matters before the FTC, FDA, CPSC, state attorneys general, local district attorneys, and government agencies.
California Proposition 65. We have one of the largest and most experienced practices with regard to California's unique labeling and toxics law, Proposition 65. Our lawyers have represented more than a thousand manufacturers, retailers, growers, suppliers, restaurants, and trade associations, with particular depth in the food, beverage, and dietary supplement industry. Because Proposition 65 affects the sale of products nationwide, we regularly advise food companies on compliance issues and in legislative and regulatory proceedings.
Food and Drug Administration. Our Food & Drug Administration (FDA) practice represents conventional food, beverage, and dietary supplement clients with respect to matters before FDA, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and state agencies. Our firm has a wide variety of food-related regulatory experience, and we address even the most highly complex and novel regulatory assignments ranging from labeling considerations to ingredient safety and approvals, recalls, and compliance matters. Our experience includes providing advice and representation to a broad range of conventional food manufacturers and processors, ingredient manufacturers, and dietary supplement companies.
Intellectual Property. Our intellectual property attorneys are widely recognized for their experience protecting food and beverage company brands and their trademark rights, including trademark counseling, clearance, and registration work; trademark and trade dress enforcement, including cease and desist letters, trademark infringement litigation, and counterfeiting and grey goods enforcement; proceedings at the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board; protection of design patents and copyrighted materials; and counseling on trademark licensing matters. We also defend our food and beverage clients against false advertising claims.
Transactions.The firm's corporate and finance attorneys frequently provide counseling regarding sales and acquisitions of food, beverage, and dietary supplement companies. Additionally, we serve as general counsel to companies and negotiate and document transactions, including distribution arrangements, licensing of intellectual property, acquisitions, joint ventures, formation of foreign enterprises, and financings.
Consumer Product Safety. We have leading practices in matters before the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and in matters arising under state consumer protection laws, such as California's Proposition 65. Our team, which includes a former General Counsel of the CPSC, regularly assists clients in matters covering the spectrum of CPSC actions—recalls, enforcement actions, and regulatory matters—as well as in litigation that can arise from product safety matters.
Mass and Class Actions. As a premier class action defense firm, we have particular experience coordinating and litigating multi-district and multi-state class and mass actions, regularly serving as national coordinating, lead, and appellate counsel in state and federal courts throughout the United States. We handle mass and class actions related to consumer protection, false advertising, product liability, distributor disputes, antitrust, securities, and environmental matters, among other areas.
Obtained dismissal of putative class action alleging deceptive advertising.
Successfully represented client in a purported class action regarding franchisee business model.
Successfully represented client in a false advertising class action regarding donut names.
Represent this longtime client in a variety of trademark and related enforcement, registration, litigation, and related matters.
Represent major casual dining restaurant system and its licensor, Weight Watchers International, in defense of multiple state and federal class actions challenging the accuracy of nutritional information listed for certain items on Applebee's menus.